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VOL. V. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 

M £ M I K S 






VOL. V. 

H, ^> MASS. 


15 a°i t*r<3 








Ministers of George III. and Queen Elizabeth compared. — Policy of 
England towards Ireland. — Influence of the Crown in the Irish Par- 
liament. — The superior advantages possessed by Ireland. — Conduct 
of the Irish Parliament. — Probability of a Union. — The proceedings of 
the Irish Government justified the course pursued by Mr. Grattan. — In- 
evitable consequence of their proceedings. — Sketch of the events that 
led to the Union. — Natural consequences. — Means adopted by Go- 
vernment. — Secret Service Money. — Sir John Parnell and James Fitz- 
gerald dismissed from their offices for opposing the Union. — Letter of 
Mr. Fitzgerald to the Bar. — Their conduct. — Meeting and Resolutions 
as to the Union. — Meeting of Parliament, 22nd January, 1799. — 
Mr. Ponsonby's amendment against Union lost only by one ! — Mr. 
Plunket's speech. — Sir Lawrence Parson's amendment against the 
Union carried on the 24th by five majority. — Union Paragraph rejected. 
— Great joy of the Irish People. — Addresses to the Members. — Mr. 
Saurin's reply. — The Regency Bill proposed by Mr. Fitzgerald. — 
Mr. Foster's (Speaker) speech against the Union . . Page 1 


Military force in Ireland at the period of the Union. — Martial law. — 
Cruel sentence on Devereux. — Indemnity bill. — Cases of torture 
known by the Government-Trials. — Acquittal of Judkin Fitzgerald. — 
Lord Avonmore's charge. — Mr. Barrington's resignation as lieutenant 
of yeomanry.— Escheatorship refused to Colonel Cole. — Arts prac- 
tised by Government. — Speeches of Plunket, Moore, and Ponsonby. 
*— Ponsonby's attack on Lord Castlereagh. — House of Lords. — Amend- 



ment proposed by Lord Powerscourt against the Union. — Last letter of 
Lord Charlemont. — His death. — End of session of 1799. — Conduct 
of Lord Cornwallis. — Addresses in favour of Union. — Lord Donough- 
more's conduct. — Orange Lodges hostile to Union. — Divisions sown 
among them and the Catholics. — Offers to the Roman Catholic clergy. 
— Resolution of the prelates. — Veto. — Catholics grossly duped. — 
Anecdote of Lord Cornwallis by Judge Johnson. — Catholics adverse 
to the Union. — Meeting and speech of Mr. Daniel O'Connell, bar- 
rister, against it. — Resolutions on the subject . . Page 31 


Mr. Grattan's difficulty of getting a seat in Parliament. — Conduct of 
opposition.— Peter Burrowes's plan to appeal to yeomanry. — Sheri- 
dan's words on the Union. — Arthur Wellesley's (Duke of Welling- 
ton) opinion on Union. — Mr. Foster's difficulty as to the Catholics. 
— Letter from Lord Downshire and Charlemont. — Three plans for 
opposing the Union ; purchasing seats ; writing pamphlets; personal 
conduct. — Mr. Grattan elected for the town of Wicklow. — Going to 
the House. — Parting with Mrs. Grattan. — Her spirited words. — Sir 
Lawrence PaTson's amendment. — Speeches of Plunket, Fitzgerald, 
Moore, Ponsonby, and Bushe. — Mr. Grattan's entrance into the House. 
— Sensation produced. — His appearance and conduct.— Speaks. — 
Corry attacks him. — Arbitrary conduct of Government. — Post troops 
at the Houses of Parliament. — Meetings of the people stopped by the 
military. — Major Rogers threatens to blow the Court House about the 
ears of the freeholders in the King's County, 5th Feb. — Mr. Grattan's 
speech against Union. — Attacked a second time by Corry. — Govern- 
ment press on the question. — No regard paid to the Committee on 
Trade and Manufactures. — House in Committee. — Mr. Corry attacks 
Mr. Grattan. — His reply.^— They leave the House. — Corry's character 
and conduct. Corry 's friendship. — His verses on Mr. Grattan. — 
Account of the duel by Mr. Grattan. — SherifT held by General 
Cradock till the parties fought Page 63 


Effect of the duel between Mr. Grattan and Mr. Corry on the suppor- 
ters of the Union. — Case of bribery, 5,000 guineas paid. — Some 
could not be bribed. — Mr. Hardy. — His character. — Rejects all 
offers. — Charles Kendal Bushe.— His character. — Rejects all offers 
from Lord Castlereagh.— Peter Burrowes incorruptible. — His cha- 
racter and conduct. — Speech of Mr. Saurin against the Union — His 
character and conduct. — Foster's speech. — His character and conduct. 
— Lord Cornwallis's letter to Lord Mornington. — Remarks upon it. — 
Mr. George Ponsonby's motion. — Impatience of Government. — In- 
troduce two bills. — Insurrection and Rebellion bills. — Invest the 
Army with great powers. — Government propose to buy the House of 
Commons, and pay 15,000/. for each borough abolished.— Letter on 
the subject to the Marquis of Donegal.— Expenses of the Union. — 
Mr. Plunket's celebrated attack on Government for their corrupt 
practices.— Character of Mr. Plunket.— Character of Mr. Ponsonby. 



— His motion to dissolve Parliament. — Sir John Parnell's speech. — 
Account of his family, the Poet and the Peer. — Remarkable words of 
Mr. Saurin and Sir Lawrence Parsons as to the Union. — Exchange of 
the militias of the two countries. — The Fitzgerald indemnity bill. — 
Proceedings of the House of Lords. — Speech of Lord Clare. — Attacks 
Mr. Grattan. — Publishes his Speech. — Mr. Grattan's celebrated an- 
swer, and brilliant description of the men of 1782 . Page 110 


Proceedings in the British Parliament on the Union. — Sheridan's exer- 
tions against it. — Lord Downshire on the offers to him from Govern- 
ment. — Lord Camden on ihe torture in Ireland. — Description of the 
Government supporters in the Irish Parliament in the Lower House. 
— St. George Daly, William Smith, Luke Fox, Robert Johnson, all 
created judges for their votes. — Society of the Monks of the Screw. — 
Dr. Frederick Jebb. — Johnson promoted. — Curran's great eulogium 
on Lord Avonmore. — Anecdote of him by Curran. — Dr. Arthur 
Browne killed by the Union. — In the upper House, Lord Pery, Lord 
Carleton, Lord Kilwarden, Lord Avonmore. — Anecdote of, by Curran. 
— His last speech in the House alluding to Mr. Grattan. — Lord Cas- 
tlereagh. — His character and conduct. — Motion of Mr. O'Donnell that 
the placemen should go to the Lord Lieutenant with the address on 
the Union. — List of them. — Union Bill read a second time. — Mr. 
Grattan's speech. — Encomium on him by Mr. Burrowes. — Motion 
that the Union Bill be burned. — Bill passed the 7th of June. — Re- 
ceives the Koyal Assent on the 1st of August. — Speeches against the 
Union bought by Lord Castlereagh and burned . . Page 154 


Afr. Pitt's opinion favourable to domestic legislation in Ireland. — His 
letter to the Duke of Rutland. — Remarks on the Union. — Acquisi- 
tions for Ireland gained by the Irish Parliament. — Results of the 
Union. — Effect on the Trade, Commerce, and Revenues of the Coun- 
try. — Ireland became bankrupt. — Military force necessary for Ireland 
in 1782. — Forces kept up in 1840. — State of the people. — Parlia- 
mentary reports. — Destitute condition of the agricultural classes. — 
Original Red and Black Lists. — The speech and opinion of Mr. Fox 
on the Union. — Comparison between Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox. — Their 
characters and their style of eloquence . . . Page 181 


After the Union Mr. Grattan retires to Tinnehinch and gives up politics. 
— His mode of life. — Letter to Mr. Berwick. — Remark on Lord 
Clare's speech in the Imperial Parliament. — Lord Fitzwilliam urges 
Mr. Grattan to enter Parliament. — Mr. Grattan's letter to Signor 
Acerbi. — Remarks on Ireland. — Mr. Pitt and Lord Comwallis retire 
from office. — Their reasons. — Memorandum produced by Lord Castle- 
reagh on the subject. — Mr. Addington's administration. — Peace with 
the French Republic. — Emmett's insurrection in 1 803. — His words and 



death. — The Broken Heart, Moore's Melody. — Mr. M'Can's exami- 
nation before the Privy Council. — Strange offers to him. — Mr. Grat- 
tan's letter to Mr. Wickham. — The paper regarding the United Irish 
Directory burned by Mr. Grattan. — Lord Fitzwilliam's letter to Mr. 
Grattan and Mr. Plowden. — His History and Remarks on Mr. 
Addington as to the Catholics. — Mr. Fox applies to Mr. Grattan on 
the affairs of Ireland. — His answer. — His yeomanry corps. — Recon- 
ciles Orangemen and Catholics. — Mr. Grattan's important letter to 
Mr. Fox. — Mr. Fox to Mr. Grattan. — Hardy's Memoirs of Lord 
Charlemont Page 210 


State of affairs on the continent of Europe in 1804 and 1805.— Conduct 
of Buonaparte. — His letter to the King. — Parties in Parliament. — 
Mr. Addington.-— Mr. Pitt. — Letters of Lord Redesdale to Lord 
Fingall. — Mr. Grattan solicited to return to Parliament. — Mr. Fox's 
letters. — Mr. Pitt's conduct to the Catholics. — His message to Lord 
Hardwicke. — Proceedings of the Catholics. — Apply to Pitt. — Entrust 
their petition to Mr. Fox.— He moves on their petition. — -Account of 
Mr. Grattan's speech in the Imperial Parliament.— Its success. — 
Pitt's remark. — Lord Byron's. — Letter to Mr. Grattan on the subject 
from Dr. O'Leary. — Lord Tyrawly. — Mr. Grattan's letter to Hardy 
and M'Can. — Breach between Pitt and Foster. — Mr. Grattan wishes 
to retire from Parliament. — Fox's letter. — Mr. Grattan to James 
Grattan on the study of history. — To Dr. Berwick. — Victory at Tra- 
falgar.— To Mr. Plowden.— Irish history. — Death of Mr. Pitt. — 
Change of administration Page 247 


The Duke of Bedford sent to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant. — Conduct of 
the Whig administration. — Great expectations of the Irish people. — 
Disappointed. — Mr. Fox's remarks as to the repeal of the Union. — 
Treatment of Hardy and Curran. — Mr. Tierney. — His character. — 
Conduct of the Catholics. — Letter of Mr. Grattan. — Refuses office. — 
Mr. Fox's letterasto the Catholics. — Letter of the Lord Lieutenant. — 
Letter of Mr. Grattan on the study of history.— His to Mr. Berwick 
on Irish appointments. — To M'Can on ditto. — To Hamilton Rowan 
as to Mr. Sampson. — To M'Can as to Curran. — Fletcher and Hardy. 
— As to Mr. Fox's health. — Lord Lieutenant to Mr. Grattan on the 
death of Fox. — Mr. Grattan to the Secretary of the Board of Educa- 
tion on that subject. — Sir John Newport on ditto. — General election. 
— Mr. Grattan declining Lord Fitzwilliam's offer to be returned for 
an English borough, sets up for Dublin. — Is elected. — His speech. — 
Letter of Mr. Keogh. — Ditto of Duke of Bedford.— Mrs. Grattan to 
Mr. Hartley, refusing the subscription to defray the expenses of elec- 
tion. — Lord Fitzwilliam to Mr. Grattan . . . Page 282 


The Duke of Bedford's letter on a provision for the Catholic clergy. — 
Mr. Grattan's opinion thereon.-— Also Edmund Burke's. — Proceed- 



ings of the Catholics as to their petition in 1807. — Mr. Ponsonby's 
opinion and letter thereon. — Meeting of the new Parliament. — Lord 
Grenville and Lord Howick continued in the ministry. — Remarks on 
their character. — The Catholic Military Bill at first approved of, then 
objected to, by the King. — The bill abandoned. — Unconstitutional 
pledge demanded by the King. — Refused. — They are dismissed. — Mr. 
Grattan's letter to the Duke of Bedford on the subject. — His letter to 
Lord Fingall on the Catholic petition. — Speech of Mr. Keogh. — Re- 
solution in favour of the Duke of Bedford. — His reply. — Mr. Pres- 
ton's death. — Mr. Hardy his successor. — Mr. Grattan's letter to Mr. 
Berwick. — No Popery administration. — Their conduct. — Their cha- 
racter. — Mr. Canning. — Mr. Perceval. — House of Commons desert 
the Whigs, and support Mr. Perceval's party. — Parliament dissolved. 
— Unconstitutional efforts of the Tories at the elections. — Great ma- 
jority in their favour in the House of Commons. — Insurrection and 
Arms bill. — Mr. Grattan's conduct. — Mr. Sheridan's motion on the 
state of Ireland. — Speech of Mr. Grattan thereon. — His letters on the 
subject. — To Mr. Berwick and Mr. M'Can, and to H. Grattan, jun. 

Page 330 


The Roman Catholic Proceedings in 1808. — Letters of Mr. Grattan 
thereon. — The Grant to the Catholic College of Maynooth reduced by 
the No-Popery administration. — Remarks thereon by Mr. Foster, Mr. 
Grattan, and Sir A. Wellesley (Secretary, afterwards Duke of Wel- 
lington). — The History of the Veto. — Efforts of Government to gain 
influence over the Catholic Church in 1782, 1795, 1799, 1806, and 
1808. — The Object of Government. — Edmund Burke's opinions on 
this question. — Catholic Question brought forward by Mr. Grattan. — 
Dr. Milner's Communication with Mr. Ponsonby. — Veto as stated 
by him. — Milner retracts. — People of Ireland oppose Veto. — 
Mr. Grattan's opinion thereon. — His Letter to Mr. M'Can. — 
Questions in 1809. — Sale of Writership and Seat in Parliament by 
Lord Castlereagh. — Mr. Grattan's conduct thereon. — History of that 
shameful transaction. — Public immorality and corruption. — Conduct 
of the Duke of York. — Investigation by the House of Commons. — 
Mrs. Clarke. — Mr. Grattan votes against the Duke, who is removed 
from the command of the Army. — Expedition to Walcheren. — Great 
loss experienced by the Army. — Subject of the Irish Union. — Mr. 
Grattan's Letters thereon. — Trade and Exports of Ireland. — Mr. 
Grattan's Letters to Messrs. M'Can and Berwick . Page 367 


Irish tithes.— Mr. Grattan brings on the Catholic question in 1810. — 
Domestic nomination of Catholic bishops disregarded by ministers.— 
Mr. Grattan complains of his absence from Ireland. — Injury from 
absenteeism. — His life in London. — Visits to Richmond to Mr. 
Sharp. — Samuel Rogers.— Cumberland. — Interesting conversation. — 
Anecdote of Kean and Miss O'Neill. — Leadership of the opposition 
offered to Tierney, accepted by Ponsonby. — Distress of Ireland. — 



Resolutions against the Union. — Public meeting and petitions against 
it. — Mr. Grattan's answer and opinion thereon. — Banks's charge that 
Ireland was a burthen to England. — Foster's spirited reply. — Illness 
of George III. — Conduct of Mr. Perceval. — Mr. Grattan's letter. — 
Opposes the restrictions on the Regency. — Mr. Ponsonby's able 
speech. — Defeat of ministers on the household. — Mr. Grattan's 
speech. — Prince accepts the office. — Lord Grenville, auditor of the 
exchequer, refuses to issue the public money. — Unconstitutional 
power assumed by the Commons. — Conduct of Sheridan. — Court 
intrigues. — Arrangement of the new ministry. — Lord Grenville and 
Lord Grey dissatisfied. — The No-Popery administration continued. — 
Mr. Grattan disclaims a spurious reply to Flood. — Letters to M'Can. 
— Letter on the Irish finances. — Sir John Newport's motion. — Mr. 
Grattan's letter on reform. — On the interchange of militia. — Letters to 
James Grattan, in Sicily, on public affairs . . Page 409 


Commencement of the Prince Regent's Government in 1811. — Proceed- 
ings of the Catholics. — Mr. Pole's circular letter. — Mr. Grattan's re- 
marks. — Presents the Catholic petition. — Motion thereon, and reply to 
Mr. Perceval. — Conduct of the No-Popery Government. — Prosecution 
of the Catholics. — Arrest of Lord Fingall. — Unconstitutional conduct 
of the Chief Justice. — Convention Act. — Trial of the delegates. — 
Acquittal of Dr. Sheridan. — Trial of Mr. Kirwan. — Conduct of Sir 
Charles Saxton, Under Secretary.-— Tampers with the jury lists. — 
Speech of Mr. Peter Burrowes. — Mr. Kirwan found guilty. — Conduct 
of the prince. — His letter to the Duke of Richmond as to Lord 
Leitrim. — Lord Hutchinson's spirited conduct. — Lord Grenville's and 
Mr. Horner's Letters. — Lord Morpeth's motion as to Ireland. — Mr. 
Grattan's speech. — America, orders in Council. — Mr. Grattan on 
Mr. Perceval's policy. — Petition from the Protestants of Ireland in 
favour of the Catholics. — Mr. Grattan moves Catholic petition, 23rd 
April, 1812. — Speech. — Mr. Perceval assassinated. — Mr. Grattan's 
letters. — Incapacity of Ministers to conduct the Government. — Record 
thereof. — Attempts to form an administration. — Mr. Wortley's motion. 
— Hostility of the Prince. — Old ministry retained. — Remarks on ne- 
gotiations. — On Lords Grey, Grenville, and Moira . Page 445 


Conduct of the Catholics in 1812. — Witchery Resolutions. — Mr. Hay 
(Secretary). — Letter thereon. — Motion in Parliament by Mr. Can- 
ning and Lord Wellesley. — Mr. Grattan's friends meet at Tinnehinch, 
and prepare the bill for Catholic Relief. — His letters. — Introduces 
the bill in the new Parliament. — His resolutions. — Meeting of the 
English members at Mr. Ponsonby's. — Proceedings on the bill. — 
Rejected by Four ! — Conduct of the Speaker (Abbot). — Conduct of 
the Prince. — Mr. Grattan's opinion and letter. — Lord Castlereagh. 
— Election for Down. — Lady Downshire's letter. — Conduct of the 
Catholics. — Application to Lord Donoughmore by Mr. Grattan. — 
Mr. Wilberforce's letter. — Mr. Grattan declines to move on the 



Catholic petition in 1814. — Catholic Board suppressed by procla- 
mation. — Conduct of Mr. Saurin. — Letter of Peter Burrowes as to 
Mr. Hay. — Disagreement in opinion between the Catholics and Mr. 
Grattan. — Their petition entrusted to Sir Henry Parnell. — Ros- 
common address to Mr. Grattan. — His reply. — Mrs. Grattan goes to 
France. — Defeat of Buonaparte. — Princess of Wales. — Corn Laws. 

Page 483 


Buonaparte's return from Elba. — Question of War. — Mr. Grattan sup- 
ports it. — His speech, and remarks on Mr. Fox and Mr. Burke. — 
Lord Grey opposes it. — Remarks on the conduct of the Opposition ; 
on Lord Castlereagh and the Tory Party. — Catholic Question brought 
on by Sir Henry Parnell. — Feeling on the subject. — Mr. Grattan 
speaks. — Distress in Ireland. — Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald's letter.— Sir J. 
Newport's motion as to Ireland. — Effects of the Union. — National 
Bankruptcy. — Consolidation of the Exchequers. — Sir John Newport's 
letter to Mr. Grattan. — Catholic Question. — Mr. Bellew. — Sir H. 
Parnell's letter. — Catholic Committee apply to Mr. Grattan to sup- 
port their claims (1817). — Sir James Mackintosh's remarks on debate 
(note). — Death of Ponsonby and Curran. — Mr. Grattan's letter to 
Lady Charleville. — Window Tax. — Discontent of Citizens of Dublin. 
— Mr. Grattan elected for Dublin, fifth time. — Attacked when chaired. 
— His reply to addresses then. — Pioposes Catholic Question, 1819. — 
Letter to Judge Day. — Lord Holland's letter. — Diary of his illness 
and death. Page 515 


1. Letters of Mr. Grattan to Edmund and Richard Burke in 

1793-4 . . . . . .557 

2. Protests of the Irish House of Lords against the Union . 564 

3. Protest and Address of the Irish House of Commons against 

the Union ...... 574 

4. Names of some who petitioned for and against the Union . 588 

5. Lord Grenville's Letter to Lord Fingall, 1810 . . 592 

6. Prince Regent's Letter, and Mr. Percival's Reply, on the 

Regency, 1811 . . . . . .597 

7. Prince Regent's Letter to the Duke of York, and Lords Grey 

and Grenville's Reply ..... 599 

8. Parody of a celebrated Letter, by Thomas Moore . . 602 

9. Address of the Catholic Board to Mr. Grattan, and Reply, 

1812 . . . . . . .605 

10. List of Divisions in Parliament on the Catholic Question . 608 





Lord Comwallis to Lord Mornington, March 2, 1800 . .128 

Edward May to Lord Donegal, October 22, 1800 . .134 

Edward Cook to Lord Castlereagh, March 3, 1801 . .217 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick, July 25, 1803 . . .223 

Same .. to Mr. Wickham, August, 1803 . . . 231 

Same .. to Mr. M'Can, do . . .231 
Same . . to Same do ... 232 

Lord Fitzwilliam to Mr. Grattan, September 23, 1803 . . 234 

Same . . to Mr. Plowden, do. . . 234 

Mr. Plowden to Mr. Grattan, October 8, 1803 . . . 235 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Fox, December 4, 1803 . . . 239 

Same . . to Same, December 9, 1803 . . . 240 

Same .. to Same, December 12, 1803 . . .241 

Mr. Fox to Mr. Grattan, March 17, 1804 . . . 243 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick, October 24, 1804 . . 245 

Mr. Fox to Mr. Grattan, March 13, 1805 . . . 254 

Same . . to Same, March 16, 1805 . . . 255 

Same . . to Same, March 23, 1805 . . . .256 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick, April 13, 1805 . . . 256 

Lord Fitzwilliam to Mr. Grattan, April 27, 1805 . . .257 

Dr. O'Leary to Mr. Grattan, May 25, 1805 . . . 263 

Lord Tyrawly to Mr. Grattan, May 26, 1805 . . 264 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick, June 10, 1805 . . . 265 

Same . . to Mr. Hardy, June 14, 1805 . . . 266 

Same . . to Mr. M'Can, June 19, 1805 . . . 267 

Same .. to James Grattan, June 22, 1805 . . . 269 

Same .. to Mr. M'Can, July 15, 1805 . . . 271 

Mr. Fox to Mr. Grattan, July 16, 1805 . . . .272 



Mr. Grattan to James G rattan, July 14, 1805 . . .273 

Same .. to Same, July 28, 1805 . . . .273 

Same .. to Same, July 29, 1805 . . . .275 

Same . . to Mr. Berwick, September 8, 1805 . . . 277 

Same . . to Mr. James Grattan, October 10, 1805 . . 277 

Same . . to Mr. Berwick, November 23, 1805 . . 278 

Same . . to Same, December 19, 1805 . . . 278 

Same . . to Mr. Plowden, December 28, 1805 . . 279 

Same . . to James Grattan, February 16, 1806 . . 292 

Mr. Fox to Mr. Ryan, February 18, 1806 . . . 295 

The Lord Lieutenant to Mr. Grattan, February 19, 1806 . . 296 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Hardy, February 20, 1806 . . . 297 

Same . . to Henry Grattan, February 20, 1806 . . 300 

Same . . to Same, February 22, 1806 . . . 302 

The Lord Lieutenant to Mr. Grattan, March 14, 1806 . . 303 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick, Patrick's Day, 1806 . . 305 

Same to Mr. M'Can, March 31, 1806 . . . 306 
Same . . to Same, April 1, 1806 .... 307 

Same . . to James Grattan, April 7, 1806 . . . 307 

Same . . to Mr. M<Can, April 15, 1806 . . . 308 

Same . . to Archibald Hamilton Rowan, April 22, 1806 .311 

Same . . to Mr. M'Can, May 8, 1806 . . . .315 

Same .. to Same, June 5, 1806 .... 315 

Same . . to Same, June 17, 1806 .... 316 

Same . . to Same, June 30, 1806 . . . .316 

Same .. to Same, July 24, 1806 . . .317 

The Lord Lieutenant to Mr. Grattan, September 30, 1806 . . 318 

Sir John Newport to Mr. Grattan, October 16, 1806 . . 320 
Mr. Grattan to the Secretary of the Board of Education, March 

25, 1811 . . . . . . .321 

Mr. John Keogh to Mr. Grattan, November 8, 1806 . . 326 

The Lord Lieutenant to Mr. Grattan, November 9, 1806 . . 326 

Mrs. Grattan to Mr. Hartley, Esq., December 7, 1806 . . 327 

Lord Fitzwilliam to Mr. Grattan, December 28, 1806 . . 328 

Mr. Hardy to Mr. Grattan, January 5, 1807 . . . 330 

The Lord Lieutenant to Mr. Grattan, January 9, 1807 . . 331 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can, February 21, 1807 . . . 336 

The Lord Chancellor to Mr. Grattan, March 7, 1807 . . 337 

Same . . to Same, March 7, 1807 . . . .338 

Mr. Elliot to Mr. Grattan, March 10, 1807 . . . 340 
Same .. to Same, March 14, 1807 .... 340 

Mr. Grattan to the Duke of Bedford, March 16, 1807 . . 344 

Same . . to Lord Fingall, March 21, 1807 ♦ . .346 

Same . . to Same, March 21, 1807 . . . .346 

Same . . to Mr. M'Can, March 28, 1807 . . . 349 

Same . . to Mr. Berwick, April 18, 1807 . . 349 

Same . . to Mr. M'Can, July 26, 1807 . . . 362 

Same .. to Mr. Berwick, August 10, 1807 . . . 362 

Same . . to Mr. M'Can, August 18, 1807 . . . 363 
Same . . to Same, August 26, 1807 .... 363 

Same . . to Mr. Sterne Hart, August 28, 1807 . . 364 

Same . . to Henry Grattan, August 29, 1807 . . . 365 

Same . . to Matthew O'Conor, Esq., February 1, 1808 . 368 



Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can, February 11, 1803 . . .368 

Same .. to Same, May 6, 1808 . . . . 370 

Same .. to Same, May 13, 1808 . . . .380 

Same . . to Mr. Berwick, June 20, 1808 . . . 382 

Same .. to Mr. M'Can, April 31, 1809 . . .397 

Same . . to Mr. Henry Grattan, December 3, 1809 . . 400 
Same . . to Same, December 6, 1809 .... 400 

Same . . to Mr. Hardy, February 15, 1810 . . . 402 

Same . . to Mr. M'Can, February 19, 1810 . . .403 

Same . . to Mr. Berwick, April 9, 1810 . . . 403 

Lord Dungannon to Mr. Grattan, September 8, 1810 . -418 

Mr. Grattan to Henry Grattan, December 4, 1810 . . 423 

Same . . to Mr. M'Can, January 5, 1811 . . . 427 

Same . . to Same, March 5, 1811 . . . . 435 

Same . . to Same, March 7, 1811 . . . . 436 

Same .. to Same, April 3, 1811 . . . .439 

Same .. to Mr. Henry Grattan, 1811 . . . .439 

Same . . to Mr. Edward Hay, June 5, 1811 . .441 

Same . . to Mr. James Grattan, June, 1811 . . . 442 
Same .. to Same, July, 1811 ..... 443 
Lord Grenville to Mr. Grattan ..... 458 

Mr. Horner to Mr. Allen, September 14, 181 1 . . .458 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can, March 3, 1812 . . . 472 

Same .. to Mr. Berwick, April 21, 1812 . . .472 

Same . . to Mr. M'Can, May 15, 1812 . . .474 

Same .. to Same, June 18, 1812 . . . .429 

Same . . to Same, February 12, 1313 . . . . 490 

Same .. to Same, May 25, 1813 . . . .496 

Lady Downshire to Mr. Grattan, Nov. 2, 1812 . . . 498 

Mr. Wilberforce to Mr. Grattan, April 30, 1814 . . . 500 

Peter Burrows to Mr. Grattan, April 13, 1814 . . . 502 

Mr. Grattan to H. Grattan, March 8, 1815 . . . 514 

Mr. Vesy Fitzgerald to Mr. Grattan, 1816 . . . 523 

John Newport to Mr. Grattan, October 25, 1817 . . . 528 

Mr. Bellew to Mr. Giatlan, February 1, 1817 . . .531 

Sir H. Parnell to Mr. Grattan, February 14, 1817 . . 532 

Mr. Grattan to the Countess of Charleville, July 17, 1817 . 534 

Same .. to Mr. Day, November 19, 181 9 . . .541 

Lord Holland to Miss Fox, June 20, 1820 . . . 554 





Ministers of George III. and Queen Elizabeth compared. — Policy of 
England towards Ireland. — Influence of the Crown in the Irish Par- 
liament. — The superior advantages possessed by Ireland. — Conduct 
of the Irish Parliament. — Probability of a Union. — The proceedings of 
the Irish Government justified the course pursued by Mr. Grattan. — In- 
evitable consequence of their proceedings. — Sketch of the events that 
led to the Union. — Natural consequences. — Means adopted by Go- 
vernment. — Secret Service Money. — Sir John Parnell and James Fitz- 
gerald dismissed from their offices for opposing the Union. — Letter of 
Mr. Fitzgerald to the Bar. — Their conduct. — Meeting and Resolutions 
as to the Union. — Meeting of Parliament, 22nd January, 1799. — 
Mr. Ponsonby's amendment against Union lost only by one ! — Mr. 
Plunket's speech. — Sir Lawrence Parson's amendment against the 
Union carried on the 24th by five majority. — Union Paragraph rejected. 
— Great joy of the Irish People. — Addresses to the Members. — Mr. 
Saurin's reply. — The Regency Bill proposed by Mr. Fitzgerald. — 
Mr. Foster's (Speaker) speech against Union. 

In one of Essex's letters to Queen Elizabeth, he 
writes, — " If your Majesty will have a strong 
party in the Irish nobility, and make use of them, 
you must hide from them all purposes of estab- 
lishing English government, till the strength of 
the Irish be so broken that they shall see no 
safety but in your Majesty's protection."* Such 
was the spirit of the time of Elizabeth ; such it 
was in the time of George the Third : his minister 
practised what her deputy recommended :| for 

* Birch's Memoirs of Elizabeth, 2d vol. p. 416, 15th June, 1598. 
f See Pacata Hibernia, for her orders to the Deputy in Minister, to 
torture the Irish. 

VOL. V. B 



[chap. I. 

years he had artfully concealed his real design ; 
but when the strength of the Irish was broken, — 
their Volunteers disbanded — their people divided, 
and their nobles corrupted, then the plot trans- 
pired. Lord Clare, who had opposed the idea in 
1785, only disclosed it when success was certain, 
and when the conspiracy of the minister against 
the Constitution was likely to be more successful 
than the conspiracy of the people against the 
Government. That Government had laboured 
for years to degrade the Legislature, and surrender 
it to Great Britain ; and in one of his speeches, 
Lord Clare not only admits, but almost boasts 
that he had been for eight years engaged in this 
horrid plot. The minister had more powerful 
means at his disposal than the people ; he had an 
abundant treasury,* an army of occupation, 
military government, and martial law : he had a 
House of Lords subservient to his will, and a 
House of Commons packed with his dependents ; 
a distracted and dispirited people, and a broken- 
down insurrection : he had brought Ireland on 
her knees, and was about to place England on 
her back. To the latter, success was a great 
object, for by it she could dispense with the 
inconvenience of a second parliament, and dis- 
entangle herself from a constitution wrested from 
her in the moments of weakness, — which Ireland 
had strove to render independent, and which 
England had sought to prostrate from the outset 
in 1782. Another object of prominent import- 
ance to her was the trade and commerce of that 
kingdom, which she knew she could direct and divert 

* See Burke's Posthumous Letters. — In 1781, the Treasury was so 
reduced that the Irish Government were obliged to borrow money, for 
the service of the State, from a private individual, and 20,000/. was ad- 
vanced by Messrs. Latouche, — they then applied to a wealthy Roman 
Catholic of the county of Cork, Mr. Goold, who advanced 5000/., thus 
were the Roman Catholics generous in the extreme, supporting a party 
that kept them excluded from honour, office, and power. 

CHAP. 1.] 



as she pleased, if in possession of her Legislature. 
This object she had kept for centuries continually 
in view. Her statute-book showed this unrelent- 
ing disposition. She had destroyed the export 
trade of Ireland in the time of Charles II. * by the 
navigation act, and destroyed its woollen trade 
in the time of William. In 1778 she yielded a 
stinted measure of concession, which she sought 
to more than neutralise by the propositions of 
1785, attempting to cheat the manufacturers and 
traders of Ireland, passing the resolutions, sug- 
gested by the jealousy of her merchants, which 
declared that England's commercial decisions 
should be registered by Ireland. Failing in her 
base designs, she threatened a union. These 
ominous words she was now about to verify, for- 
getful that no country deserved to be treated 
by England better than Ireland, and that no 
country had been treated worse. 

Ireland had made many and great sacrifices to 
British interest and British supremacy, — to her 
love of gain, and her love of power. She had 
made herself, to a great extent, an auxiliary to 
British empire and British commerce. She had 
not launched into that military and commercial 
independence for which her situation, her am- 
bition, and her resources qualified her: she had 
refrained in 1782, (when she was irresistible) — 
but because she would not yield all ; because 
she required some practical freedom, some chance 
of prosperity, England determined to make her 
surrender even the forms of nationality. The 
surrender which was now sought for was to be 
extorted by force and bribery. The Volunteer 
proceedings of 1782 were now to be avenged ; 

* Following out a law of Cromwell's ; for the English Republic and 
the English Dictator were as unjustly avaricious as the legitimate 
monarch, but they were not so treacherous or ungrateful ; they did not 
sacrifice their adherents for a truce. 

p 2 



and the words of Lord Camden were about to be 
realised, which, prophet-like, he had spoken 
when passing the Volunteer brigades which were 
reviewed in the north of Ireland in 1782: he fore- 
told that " England would never forgive her ;" and 
exclaimed, " England considers this an insult, 
and will, when she can, make you feel that she does 
so."* In addition to the feelings of wounded 
pride were added those of interest. England was 
a nation of manufacturers ; Arkwright,f Bolton,J 
and Watt had raised her skill and industry to an 
exalted and unexampled height, and had enabled 
her to make rapid strides in manufactures, trade, 
and commerce. She grew jealous of every rival ; 
she thought that in Ireland she beheld one that 
would hereafter prove a dangerous and successful 
competitor.^ Accordingly, she craftily planned 
a return to her old system, and not only deter- 
mined to discourage, but to destroy. She saw in 
Ireland the germ of future greatness. She feared 
her power, — she disliked her people, — she hated 
their religion. Situated as Ireland was, between 
the new and the old world ; possessed of superior 
advantages, fertile soil, genial climate, splendid 
harbours, abundant water-power for manufac- 
tures, and inhabited by a hardy, industrious, and 

* See Dr. IJaliday's Letter, ante, vol. iv. p. 312. 

f Richard Arkwright invented the machinery for spinning cotton ; he 
was originally a barber, and travelled through England buying hair ; 
becoming acquainted with a clockmaker, he mentioned to him some 
mechanical project, which the clockmaker urged him to apply to the 
spinning of cotton ; he did so, and by the aid of some friends obtained 
money to take out a patent, which in 1769 he effected. He set up in 
Derbyshire, where he erected extensive works and accumulated a very 
large fortune, was created a knight, became high-sherifT of the county of 
Derby, and died there in 1793. It was the spinning-jenny that made 
Sir Robert Peel's fortune. 

I Introduced the use of the steam engine in manufactories; see ante, 
Mr. Grattan's letter to Mr. Broome, vol. iii. p. 338, where he speaks of 
Mr. Bolton as a most useful philosophical man. 

§ See the Report of the Committee on Trade and Plantations with 
the evidence of the English manufacturers in 1785. 

CHAP. I.] 



abstemious race of men, without inclination to 
vice, or temptation to luxury ; knowing little of 
the amassment of wealth, the allurements of plea- 
sure, or the seductive dangers that follow from a 
more advanced state of civilization. Such a 
country was destined by nature to become great. 
England perceived it, and determined to crush it 
in its infancy. 

To the powerful influence, and hungry resolve 
of England at the hour of the Union, Ireland had 
little to oppose. A House of Lords nominated 
by the Crown, and submissive to the Government ; 
a House of Commons selected by the aristocracy, 
and pensioned by the Court ; a gentry divided 
among themselves, and distinct from the people, 
opposed to their liberties, and hostile to their 
religion ; the people purposely kept ignorant, and 
divided by civil and religious disabilities; the 
majority disqualified and excluded from the Par- 
liament, and from honours and office in the state, 
— What a fearful picture ! — what a discouraging- 
prospect for the freedom of a nation ! What a 
disgrace to the Protestant who sanctioned, to 
the Catholic who endured; and above all, to 
Great Britain who had imposed a tyranny so 
horrid, and formed a plan so revolting, and used 
the results for so wicked a consummation ! 

The plan which preceded the meditated at- 
tempt, and by which it was effected, was chiefly 
the introduction of a system of bribery and cor- 
ruption unprecedented, except in the British Par- 
liament itself; but the corruptors of the English 
senate were natives, — those of Ireland were 
aliens. In the few preceding years the growth 
of the influence of the Crown in Ireland had been 
enormous ; fifteen new parliamentary places, and 
three new judges, created in 1789; five treasury 
places in '93 ; thirty-two militia colonels, and 


thirty-two county judges — all but the first and 
last capable of sitting in Parliament: thus, the 
House of Commons was fast growing into a House 
of Lords, as the House of Lords had grown into 
a court ; and nothing could save the country from 
the parliament but a reform, and this was a mea- 
sure that, when proposed, had met with uniform 
opposition and defeat. It is a mistake to say the 
democratic power was dangerous in Ireland. The 
Irish are not a democratic people; their ten- 
dencies are the other way ; but some infusion of 
democracy was essential to preserve the consti- 
tution and the nation, — for the House of Com- 
mons, directly or indirectly, was become the 
grand pensioner of the Court. The purchase of 
seats, the sale of peerages,* the corruption of the 
city of Dublin,^ the Convention Bill, Gunpowder 
Bill, suspension of habeas corpus, transportation 
without trial, without inquiry— indemnification for 
measures of violence, and even for acts of torture — 
acts unreproved by the minister in England, — car- 
ried and defended by the minister in Ireland, — had 
sunk the character of the House of Commons, and 
reduced it below the court level. The inter- 
meddling of the British minister ; the insidious 
and mischievous attempts of his Viceroys to 
divide Protestant from Catholic, followed by fur- 
ther attempts to divide Catholic from Catholic, 
and urging on the incoherency of Parliament ; 
rejecting the Presbyterian and Catholic petitions 
at one momentj— receiving them in the next;§ 
passing then the system of corruption ; voting 
that of coercion ; permitting that of torture, and 
suffering the commander-in-chief || to imprison 
and transport at pleasure all whom he pleased ; 
the peculiar miserableness of the House of Lords, 

* Vol. iii. p. 453. 
§ 1793. 

f Vol. iv. App. No. 1. 
|| Lord Coarhampton. 

J 1792. 



almost in subjection under the violent and ter- 
magant thraldom of the Chancellor, — all these 
causes had brought both Houses of Parliament 
to the lowest level (the object that the British 
minister always had in view). The House of 
Commons was not a popular assembly : its vices 
stimulated, its virtues crossed, and punished by 
Great Britain, it had remained satisfied with 
having acquired independency, and had generally 
declined the exercise of it, as well as of most 
other efficient popular functions ; it lost the merit 
of the good laws which it had passed — the 
Place Bill, the Pension Bill, the Responsibility 
Bill, — having first rejected them, and at last 
passed them, when the clamour of the people, 
aud the progress of the French, had terrified the 
ministry, who at last allowed the Parliament to 

Those inherent vices were great ; it only par- 
tially represented a sect ; two-thirds were re- 
turned by individuals. It excluded a sect which 
comprehended three-fourths of the people ; and 
yet it opposed the ambition of England. It was 
a body half-bought by the Court — distinct from 
the Irish, and opposed to the English; in fact, 
the destruction of such a Parliament was a matter 
of demonstration. No government or parliament 
such as this, without credit or authority, can last, 
except by power ; but the power that supported 
the Irish Parliament in this case was the power 
of England, and the power of England must, 
sooner or later, prefer the Parliament of England: 
it followed that union, or reform, had become 

It is not then to be wondered that the Irish 
Parliament acted ill ; on the contrary, it is a 
matter of surprise that it acted so well, and that 
with such materials it effected so much at 



first, and made such a resistance in the end. 
The frequent appeals to the people and the 
volunteers, led on by discreet and wise leaders, 
effected the business in 1782 ; and had they 
been armed, they would not afterwards have lost 
their liberty in 1800. Lafayette's plan to arm the 
French nation was a fine one : while the national 
guards exist, the people can never be enslaved. 

The secret that decided the fate of Irish power, 
decided also the fate of the Irish Parliament. 
Parliament owed its rescue in 1782 to the 
strength of the people; and its abolition in 1800 
to their overthrow. There were peculiar cir- 
cumstances attending and impelling this catas- 
trophe ; there are always in such cases* such 
circumstances, but these do not vary the prin- 
ciple. The Union, as regarded the Irish nation, 
was an act of power and corruption ; the Irish 
Parliament did not consent to its own abolition. No 
such thing; it refused its consent, and then, by 
force, was compelled to yield. True, it sold the 
right ; but it was when it was driven to the alter- 
native of leaguing with an insurrection defeated by 
itself, and embarking in a war, or of yielding to 
the minister whatever be demanded ; it was a sale, 
and a forced sale. If the House had been left 
free, it had preferred the Parliament to the bribe; 
but knowing that Government would carry the 
measure, it received money for doing what it 
thought could not be prevented. The apology 
for the Parliament is, that it did not represent 
the people ; the excuse for the people is, they 
were unarmed, and freshly defeated ; but for the 

* And it is not necessary for the truth of this proposition to inquire 
into the guilt or innocence of the people. Posterity may acquit them : 
in my humble opinion they were fatally wrong, they afford a great 
lesson to all nations never to trust such tyrannical, sanguinary, and un- 
constitutional ministers as Lord Clare or Mr. Pitt; get rid of them 
sooner or later, but at all events, and in any way, get rid of them. 



minister of Great Britain — and for that country 
— there is none. 

The Union was a complete admission of the 
correctness of Mr. Grattan's conduct and views, 
and of the course he undeviatingly pursued with 
regard to Ireland. Those who argued and wrote 
in support of the Union proved all the positions he 
had laid down as to the mode necessary to be 
adopted for governing the country ; they con- 
tended that Parliament was just what he said it 
was, and that it required reform ; they even stated 
that it was much worse : such was the tenor of Mr. 
Secretary Cooke's pamphlet, — such Lord Clare's 
speech ; it was tantamount to saying that when 
Mr. Grattan inveighed against the corruption of 
Parliament he was right ; that Parliament was an 
original evil — and an allied legislature a necessary 
failure : they went further, and in other respects 
they admitted that he was also right. For, as. to 
tithe, they wrote and admitted that it was a 
great practical evil : thus the Government gave 
ii}) all that they had contended for in the years 
1787, 9 bS, and'89; they admitted that in these 
years Mr. Grattan was right ; still more, that he 
was right as to the condition of the poor, and that 
lie should have gone farther and have inveighed 
against the tyranny of the landlords : such was 
the purport of Mr. Douglas's (Lord Glenbervie's) 
speech in the English Parliament. On the Ca- 
tholic question, too, they admitted that Mr. 
Grattan was right ; that the king's oath did not 
stand in the way ; that the Catholics might safely 
become part of the state and legislature ; that they 
were not enemies to a Protestant king, — and that 
their emancipation was not irreconcilable to the 
preservation of the kingdom, and that without it 
the United Empire could not be safe : in fine, 
they admitted that he was right as to the reform 



of Parliament. Such were the arguments re- 
sorted to by the minister at the Union. The mi- 
nisters allowed it then, though they had denied it 
before : it is true that at the Union they aggra- 
vated all this, but they acknowledged it all. 
Herein only they differed from him that the 
Government advanced these charges with ten- 
fold aggravation, and inferred, not as Mr. Grattan 
did, the necessity of the reform of the Consti- 
tution, but the extermination of the Constitution 
itself, and the introduction of a new one. 

All these unworthy artifices — the political 
manoeuvres, the violence, corruption, bigotry, 
intolerance of the age — all these events did not 
arise from the religion of the country, from the 
character or constitution of the people, from the 
Ministry, from the Opposition, from the Catholic 
Convention, nor from the United Irish Confede- 
racy, from Mr. Grattan or Mr. Ponsonby, or Mr. 
Keogh or Mr. Tone. A strong island enslaves a 
weak one; she afterwards involves herself in a 
calamitous war;* she affords to the weak one 
an opportunity of recovering its liberty, and she 
stipulates with that island to yield part of her 
own domination, and to keep the remainder ; she 
gets back into peace, and then exercises the 
power she keeps to recover the power which she 
had lost. For this purpose she infuses corruption, 
excites suspicion, discontent, and religious hatred; 
she divides and disarms, but gets involved in another 
calamitous war,| and gives an opportunity to the 
oppressed and disappointed country to revolt. 
She obtains from that country a great army to 
repel the enemy, she uses that army to quell the 
people, and then uses her success to revoke her 
former concessions. This was precisely the case 
of Ireland. England took away her liberties, 

* American war, 1779. f French war, 1792. 



Ireland took advantage of the American war to 
regain them ; England capitulated, she restored 
the Legislature and retained the Government ; 
and the power of that Government was employed 
to corrupt and make dependent that Legislature ; 
Ireland went back into discontent, and clamour on 
the part of the people produced punishment and 
acts of despotism on the part of the Government. 
A calamitous war arises ; the Government in- 
clines to capitulate; the alteration of measures 
and men form, of necessity, the base of that 
capitulation; a faithful slave is dismissed;* he 
appeals to a corrupt court, where he finds that he 
has more friends than the people ; he fills every 
place with lamentation. In this court he finds an 
old fellow-slave, and this fellow-slave finds a 
Bishop, t and this Bishop is advised to resort to 
the King, and the King is taught to believe that, 
by his oath, he cannot assent to a plan of 
conciliation ; accordingly, the plan is withdrawn, 
the conciliator disgraced, J and the slave sent 
back in triumph. Then the people become tur- 
bulent, an officer is sent to them to punish their 
turbulence, § and he transports them without trial. 
The people appeal to France. The Government 
has a great army ; lets that army loose on the 
people ; they rebel, and are vanquished (the 
time of revolt being chosen by the Govern- 
ment) ; the country is enslaved, and all her late 
acquisitions taken from her. All these events, as 
already stated, flowed from natural, not from 
artificial causes ; but these may have been aided, 
or might have been retarded, by the character of 
the Prime Minister of England, || his love of 
power, the genius of his reign, the violence of the 

* Beresford. f Bishops of Dublin and London. 

J Lord Fitzwilliam, lord lieutenant. § Lord Coarhampton. 

|| Mr. Pitt. 



Irish Cabinet, and, above all, the French Revo- 
lution. They could only have been prevented by 
reform or separation. 

Some of these artificial causes grew out of the 
natural ones. For instance, the men of the Irish 
court were made by the events. A rich and a 
powerful country desires dominion, and her ambi- 
tion is the fortune of adventurers. The weak 
country furnishes men who have an interest in 
selling themselves and their talents, their vio- 
lence, and their craft (the attributes of their ser- 
vility and means of their fortune). This suffices 
to answer those writers who sought for the causes 
of Irish calamity in the nature of her people and 
in their religion ; and when we find one or more 
natural causes we have found a clue to the rest, 
and here are two of them — the love of power and 
the love of independency ; from the former no 
society was ever entirely free, and from the latter 
none whatsoever. These two passions induced 
the English to struggle for a dominion over the 
Irish Legislature, and agitated the people of Ire- 
land to oppose her ; and these two passions set 
in action, talents, venality, licentiousness, cruelty, 
and rebellion ; the torture, free quarter, assassina- 
tion, perfidy, and Union. 

The result and the particulars of these proceed- 
ings are the subject of the following pages. 

In order to carry such a measure as the Union, 
Government found it necessary to resort to all the 
means that stratagem, violence, intimidation, and 
corruption could supply. The military were in 
every quarter — less sanguinary, but intemperate. 
Threatening and overbearing proclamations for 
" putting down the Rebellion " were again issued 
and circulated, as if it still raged throughout the 
country, the Government party declaring that it 
was only lulled but not extinguished, and that it 



certainly would again burst forth in all its 
horrors ; arrests and imprisonments still took 
place, the system of terror was again revived, 
and no one was allowed to leave the kingdom 
without a licence or a passport from the Govern- 

The wicked policy of the Government may be 
judged of from the following circumstance : — In 
the preceding volume it has been mentioned that 
Hughes, the Government informer, had gone to 
Tinnehinch to entrap Mr. Grattan, that his evi- 
dence before the Secret Committee was totally 
false, and that he was guilty of gross perjury. 
By certain disclosures made within these few 
years, it appears that this man, subsequent to the 
discovery of his perjury, was still kept in the pay 
of Government, still received secret-service money, 
and was actually lodged and fed in Dublin Castle, 
and lived beneath the same roof with the repre- 
sentative of the Sovereign ! ! That such instru- 
ments as informers should have been employed 
by Ministers is credible, though disgraceful and 
detestable, but that, after discovering their per- 
fidy, their falsehood, and their glaring perjury, 
especially in such a case as Mr. Grattan's, any 
minister or any lord lieutenant should uphold 
and protect them, and place them even in the 
palace of the Viceroy, would almost exceed 
belief; none would have thought that the foul 
deeds of the Inquisition, and the dreadful doings 
of the Roman Emperors, would find imitators and 
rivals in the Christian governors of Ireland. 

The documents establishing these facts will be 
found in Dr. Madden's History of the United 
Irishmen, lately published. The author of these 
memoirs has ascertained, as far as lay in his 
power, that the documents are genuine, and that 
they came from the Castle of Dublin. In one of 




[CHAP. I. 

them the accounts and names, and the sums paid 
to each person, are set forth ; all are corrected and 
signed by the then under-secretary, Edicard Cooke, 
and the payment for secret- service money is fully 
detailed: 53,547/., appears charged in one account. 

Judas got thirty pieces of silver for" betraying the 
Redeemer, yet it belonged to the Jews ; but Ire- 
land was forced to pay the wages of her be- 
trayers, and the price was national life. 

The plan of Union was propounded in the 
latter end of 1798. The Government were deter- 
mined that nothing should stop them in their 
efforts to accomplish their object, and they dis- 
missed in the most summary manner Sir John 
Parnell from the office of Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer, and Mr. James Fitzgerald from the legal 
situation of Prime Serjeant, in consequence of 
these individuals having differed from them on 
the subject of the Union. Their places were filled 
up by Mr. Isaac Corry and Mr. St. George Daly, 
both of whom sunk their reputation and ability in 
the abyss where they precipitated their country ; 
the former had an excuse, as he was an adven- 
turer without means, though not without talents ; 
but the latter had a name to uphold, and the 
brother of Denis Daly ought not to have shamed 
so illustrious a relation. The Bar, however, 
determined to support the Prime Serjeant, and 
adopted a resolution thanking him for his noble 
conduct in preferring the good of his country to 
rank and emolument, and allowing him, as when 
in office, the same precedence in all cases in the 
courts. This roused the anger of the Lord Chan- 
cellor, he excited the Judges, and hence arose a 
serious difference* between the Bench and the 

* The following incident occurred in the Court of Chancery. It was 
motion day, and according to usage the senior barrister present is called 
on by the bench to make his motions, after which the next in precedence 
is called, until the whole of the bar have been called on, down to the 

chap, i.] mr. fitzgerald s letter to the bar. 15 

Bar, which continued until the following letter 
was addressed to one of his brethren by Mr. 
Fitzgerald, in order to reconcile the dispu- 
tants : — 

January, 1795. 

My Dear Sir, — Finding that the kindness of the 
Bar, conferring on me the most honourable distinction, 
has unexpectedly occasioned a controversy which might 
be injurious to the public business, I most earnestly 
request that they will permit me to act in the rank which 
I at present hold — as I shall otherwise feel myself called 
upon to quit a profession to which the kindness of my 
brethren has attached me more than ever. — I have the 
honour to be, my dear Sir, your very sincere and faithful 

James Fitzgerald. 

Notwithstanding the strenuous efforts of Lord 
Clare to intimidate and corrupt the Bar; the 
creation of places and appointment of officers ; 
his denunciation of Mr. Fletcher, his expulsion of 
Mr. Curran, and the overbearing, browbeating 
manner which he introduced into his court, yet 
on this occasion the Bar upheld their indepen- 
dence. In the month of December, 1798, in a 
meeting at the Exhibition-room in William-street, 
they had assembled and agreed to a resolution — 
u That the measure of the Legislative Union 

youngest barrister. The Attorney and Solicitor Generals having made 
their motions, the Chancellor called on Mr. Smith, the father of the bar, 
who bowed and said Mr. Saurin had precedence of him ; he then called 
on Mr. Saurin, who bowed and said Mr. Ponsonby had precedence of 
him ; Mr. Ponsonby in like manner said Mr. Curran had precedence; 
and Mr. Curran said he could not think of moving anything before Mr. 
Fitzgerald, who certainly had precedence of him ; the Chancellor then 
called on Mr. Fitzgerald, who bowed and said he had no motion to 
make; and this caused the Chancellor to speak out — "I see, gentlemen, 
you have not then relinquished the business ; it would be better at once 
for his Majesty's council, if they do not choose to conform to the regula- 
tions of the court, to resign their silk-gowns, than sit thus in a sort of 
rebellion against their sovereign. I dismiss the causes in which these 
gentlemen are retained, with costs on both sides ; w and thus saying, Lord 
Clare left the bench. The attorneys immediately determined they would 
not charge any costs. 


between this kingdom and Great Britain is an 
innovation which it would be highly dangerous 
and improper to propose at the present juncture 
of the country." This resolution was proposed 
by Mr. William Saurin, afterwards Attorney- 
General, and was carried by 166 to 32. Those 
who distinguished themselves by supporting the 
interests of their country deserve to have their 
names transmitted to posterity.* Instigated by 
the hopes of gain and by their factious chiefs, the 
minority of the Bar protested against the pro- 
ceedings of their brethren, and signed five de- 
clarations expressive of their opinion on the 
question ; most of them were subsequently re- 
compensed for their conduct, some were pro- 

* Barristers who opposed the Union : — 
Edward Mayne. Eyre Burton Powel. W. P. Ruxton. 

Charles Bushe. Beresford Burston. M. J. O'Dwyer. 

H. Joy. John Barrington. Samuel Rudleton. 

Charles Hamilton. J. W. Bell. Joshua Spencer. 

Redmond Barry. William Saurin. John Hamilton. 

Richard Jebb. W. C. Plunket. George Barnes. 

Peter Burrowes. A. C. McCartney. Thomas Goold. 

John Lloyd. J. Jameson. Mr. Orr. 

William Vavasour. P. Doyne. N. P. Leader. 

William Sankey. R. Lyster. F. Dobbs. 

T. O'Driscoll. Gerald O. Farrel. Mr. Lynch. 

List of barristers favourable to the Union : — 
St. Geo. Daly.* J. Homan.f Robert Torrens.* 

W. Norcott. 
Thomas Vickers.f 
Thomas Grady.f 
John Dwyer, jun.J 
John Beresfbrd.J 
R. J. Leslie.f 
Thomas Scott. f 
P. F. Henchv.i 
T. Keller.|| 
Henry Brook. f- 

J. Jameson.) 
Wm. Smith* 
Thomas Monsell. 
C. K. Garnett.f 
John W 7 hite. 
Wm, Johnson.* 
Archibald Radford 
J as. McClelland* 
William Turner, f 
John Schoales.f 

* So marked were appointed judges of the supreme court, 
t So marked were appointed county judges. 
X Commissioner of bankrupts. 
§ Got an office in custom-house. 
|| Got an office in court of chancery. 

^| Commissioner to distribute the million and a half Union compensa- 

James Geraghty.f 
F. W. Fortescue. 
Richard F. Sharkey .f 
J. D. Clarke. 
Thomas Morgell.j- 
W. Longfield.^f 
J. W.Stokes.f 
John Ball,jun. 
Henry Cole/j" 
William Roper.f 



moted to the Bench, others got places ; baseness 
was the test of merit. 

It happened most unfortunately for the country 
that Mr. Grattan was not in Parliament when 
the Union was proposed, having declined to stand 
at the general election in 1797; he had retired 
disgusted and dispirited ; the calamities of his 
country preyed upon his mind, and had so 
strongly affected him as almost to endanger his 
life. After the trial at Maidstone, where he had 
given evidence in the case of Arthur O'Connor, 
he remained in England in a very precarious 
state of health, and quite unable to attend to 
public business, and in particular to any affairs 
connected with the transactions in Ireland. Not- 
withstanding his absence, the Opposition in the 
House of Commons was well conducted ; the 
leaders possessed talent and knowledge, but had 
not that weight with the people that the exigency 
of the case required, and were not generally 
known beyond the precincts of the House, or the 
immediate sphere of their Parliamentary action. 
Under these circumstances Parliament opened on 
the 22d of January, 1799, and the debate on the 
Union commenced, in consequence of the reference 
to it in the King's Speech. It continued for 
twenty-one hours, having begun at four and lasted 
till one o'clock on the ensuing day. It was con- 
ducted with great ability, great spirit, and great 
ardour. Mr. George Ponsonby made a famous 
speech against the measure. That of Lord Castle- 
reagh was bold and impudent. The address 
containing the paragraph that recommended the 
Union was as follows : — 

The unremitting industry with which our enemies 
persevere in their avowed design of endeavouring to effect 
a separation of this kingdom from Great Britain must have 
engaged your particular attention ; and his Majesty com- 

vol. V. c 


mr. ponsonby's amendment, [chap. I. 

mands me to express his anxious hope that this considera- 
tion, joined to the sentiment of mutual affection and 
common interest, may dispose the Parliaments in both 
kingdoms to provide the most effectual means of maintain- 
ing and improving a connexion essential to their common 
security, and of consolidating, as far as possible, into one 
firm and lasting fabric, the strength, the power, and the 
resources of the British Empire." 

Mr. George Ponsonby then moved to insert the 
following words after the passage declaring the 
readiness of the House to consider the measures 
best tending to confirm the strength of the em- 
pire : — 

Maintaining, however, the undoubted birthright of 
the people of Ireland to have a resident and independent 
Legislature, such as it was recognised by the British 
Legislature in 1782, and was finally settled at the adjust- 
ment of all differences between the two countries. 

This amendment was seconded by Sir Lau- 
rence Parsons (afterwards Lord Rosse), and pro- 
duced a most spirited debate. It was supported 
by Mr. Fitzgerald (late Prime Serjeant), Mr. 
Hardy, Mr. Plunket, D. Bowes Daly, Barrington 
(Judge of Admiralty), Ogle, Ball, A. Browne 
(Member for the University), F. Faulkner, Richard 
Dawson, G. and W. Ponsonby. It was opposed 
by Lord Castlereagh, Mr. Rd. Martin, H. D. 
Grady, Mr. Smith, St. George Daly, Osborne, 
Toler, and Mr. Fitzgerald (Knight of Kerry). 

Mr. (afterwards Lord) Plunket said — 

Sir, — I had been induced to think that we had at the 
head of the executive Government in this country a plain 
honest soldier, unaccustomed to and disdaining the in- 
trigues of politics, and who, as an additional evidence of 
the directness and purity of his views, had chosen for his 
secretary a simple and modest youth (puer irigenui vultus 
ingenuique pudoris) whose inexperience was the voucher 
of his innocence ; and yet I will be bold to say, that 
during the Viceroyalty of this unspotted veteran, and 
during the Administration of this unassuming stripling — 



within these last six weeks — a system of black corruption 
has been carried on within the walls of the Castle, which 
would disgrace the annals of the worst period of the 
history of either country. Do you choose to take down 
my words? I need call no witnesses to your bar to prove 
them. I see two Right Honourable Gentlemen sitting 
within your walls, who had long and faithfully served the 
Crown, and who have been dismissed because they dared 
to express a sentiment in favour of the freedom of their 
country. I see another Honourable Gentleman, who has 
been forced to resign his place as Commissioner of the 
Revenue, because he refused to co-operate in this dirty 
job of a dirty Administration : do you dare to deny this ? 
I say that at this moment the threat of dismissal from 
office is suspended over the heads of the Members who 
now sit around me, in order to influence their votes on the 
question of this night, involving everything that can be 
sacred or dear to man. Do you desire to take down my 
words ? Utter the desire, and I will prove the truth of 
them at your bar. Sir, I would warn you against the con- 
sequences of carrying this measure by such means as this, 
but that I see the necessary defeat of it in the honest and 
universal indignation which the adoption of such means 
excites : I see the protection against the wickedness of the 
plan in the imbecility of its execution, and I congratulate 
my country that, when a design was formed against their 
liberties, the prosecution of it was entrusted into such 
hands as it is now placed. The example of the Prime 
Minister of England, imitable in its vices, may deceive 
the noble lord. The Minister of England has his faults ; 
he abandoned in his latter years the principle of reform, by 
professing which he had attained the early confidence of 
the people of England, and in the whole of his political 
conduct he has shown himself haughty and intractable ; 
but it must be admitted that he is endowed by nature with 
a towering and transcendent intellect, and that the vast- 
ness of his moral resources keeps pace with the magni- 
ficence and unboundedness of his projects. I thank God 
that it is much more easy for him to transfer his apostacy 
and his insolence, than his comprehension and sagacity ; 
and I feel the safety of my country in the wretched feeble- 
ness of her enemy. I cannot fear that the constitution 
which has been formed by the wisdom of ages, and 
cemented by the blood of patriots and of heroes, is to be 



smitten to its centre by such a green and limber twig as 
this. ##_#.## Si r> l f i n the most 
express terms, deny the competency of Parliament to do 
this act. I warn you, do not dare to lay your hands on 
the constitution. I tell you, that if, circumstanced as you 
are, you pass this act, it will be a mere nullity, and no man 
in Ireland will be bound to obey it. I make the assertion 
deliberately. I repeat it. I call on any man who hears 
me to take down my words. You have not been elected 
for this purpose. You are appointed to make laws, and 
not legislatures. You are appointed to exercise the func- 
tions of legislators, and not to transfer them. You are 
appointed to act under the constitution, and not to alter 
it; and, if you do so, your act is a dissolution of the 
Government ; you resolve society into its usual elements, 
and no man in the land is bound to obey you. Sir, I 
state doctrines that are not merely founded on the immu- 
table laws of truth and reason ; I state not merely the 
opinions of the ablest and wisest men who have written on 
the science of government; but I state the practice of our 
constitution as settled at the era of the revolution ; and I 
state the doctrine under which the House of Hanover 
derives its title to the throne. Has the King a right to 
transfer his crown ? Is he competent to annex it to the 
crown of Spain, or any other country ? No ; but he may 
abdicate it, and every man who knows the constitution 
knows the consequence — the right reverts to the next in 
succession. If they all abdicate, it reverts to the people. 
The man who questions this doctrine, in the same breath 
must arraign the sovereign on the throne as a usurper. 
Are you competent to transfer your legislative rights to 
the French Council of Five Hundred ? Are you compe- 
tent to transfer them to the British Parliament ? 1 answer 
no ! — If you transfer, you abdicate ; and the great original 
trust reverts to the people, from whom it issued. Your- 
selves you may extinguish, but Parliament you cannot 
extinguish. It is enthroned in the hearts of the people — it 
is enshrined in the sanctuary of the constitution — it is as 
immortal as the island which protects it. As well might 
the frantic suicide hope that the act which destroys his 
miserable body should extinguish his eternal soul ! Again 
I therefore warn you. Do not dare to lay your hands on 
the constitution — it is above your powers. # # # 
I will be bold to say that licentious and impious France, 



in all the unrestrained excesses to which anarchy and 
atheism have given birth to, has not committed a more 
insidious act against her enemy than is now attempted by 
the professed champion of the cause of civilised Europe 
against a friend and ally in the hour of her calamity and 
distress — at a moment when our country is filled with 
British troops, when the loyal men of Ireland are fatigued 
and exhausted by their efforts to subdue the rebellion, 
efforts in which they had succeeded before those troops 
arrived — whilst the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended — 
whilst trials by court-martial are carrying on in many 
parts of the kingdom — whilst the people are taught to 
think they have no right to meet or deliberate — and whilst 
the great body of them are so palsied by their fears, or 
worn down by their exertions, that even the vital question 
is scarcely able to rouse them from their lethargy — at a 
moment when we are distracted by domestic dissensions 
— dissensions artfully kept alive as the pretext of our 
present subjugation, and the instrument of our future 

The amendment was lost only by a majority of 
one. The numbers being 105 to 106. This was 
effected on the part of Government by base arti- 
fice, and was accompanied on the part of the 
individual concerned by gross dereliction both of 
public and of private duty. This person was Mr. 
Luke Fox, a rough, coarse, unprincipled lawyer ; 
he came into Parliament professing to act with 
the national party, but when his vote would have 
been of essential service he betrayed them. On 
the division he was counted among the Oppo- 
sition, when he declared that he had accepted 
the office of Escheatorship of Munster (a nominal 
place to enable members to vacate their seats). 
This excuse was allowed, although the writ was 
not moved for till several days after. If his vote 
had been counted the numbers would have been 
equal, and the casting-voice of the Speaker 
(Foster) would have decided the question against 
the Union ; but the influence of Government 



prevailed, and turned the balance against the 

On the 24th the Report on the Address was 
brought up and Sir L. Parsons moved to omit the 
paragraph regarding the Union. This gave rise 
to another debate, which ended by the rejection 
of the paragraph, the numbers being — for ex- 
punging it, 109; against it, 104. 

Mr. Ponsonby then submitted a motion to the 
House, which would have gone still further, and 
in an express manner declared its opinion against 
the Union : " Resolved, that this House will 
ever maintain the undoubted birthright of Irish- 
men by preserving an independent Parliament of 
Lords and Commons, resident within this king- 
dom, as settled and approved by his Majesty and 
the British Parliament in 1782." 

Unfortunately this was not pressed as it ought 
to have been, nor supported as it deserved ; and 
consequently Mr. Ponsonby withdrew it. Had 
this resolution been carried it might have led to 
the final overthrow of the measure, and several 
members were censured for their conduct on the 
occasion. It is, however, scarcely credible that 
the Minister would have suffered this resolution 
to pass, when his influence in the House was con- 
sidered, and the desperate courses he adopted in 
order to carry his object ; the greater the crime, 
the greater his audacity and recklessness. 

The rejection of the Union paragraph diffused 
universal joy throughout the nation. Dublin 
was illuminated, the names of the popular mem- 
bers who had distinguished themselves on the 
occasion were celebrated at all the public dinners, 
and the health of the glorious majority * was 

* Their names were printed in red, and circulated throughout the 
country, entitled, " The list of our glorious and virtuous defenders, that 
every man may engrave their names and their services on his heart, and 
hand them down to his children's children." 



the toast on all occasions. Congratulatory ad- 
dresses were presented to those who had op- 
posed the Union ; the most remarkable and com- 
plimentary were those to Lord Charlemont, Sir 
John Parnell, Mr. Foster, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. 
Saurin, and Mr. Barrington. 

From among these the answer of Mr. Saurin is 
here inserted. The opinion of this grave and 
steady character, who filled for so many years the 
office of Attorney-General in Ireland, and held 
such a legal reputation, is worthy of attention ; 
but it is to be hoped that its forebodings may not 
be realised. Mr. Saurin's reply to the Guild of 
Merchants of Dublin : — 

Gentlemen, — I could not have expected that the con- 
duct of an individual (however well intended) could have 
attracted your attention, or deserved so flattering a mark 
of approbation as that with which you have been pleased 
to honour me ; for which I beg to return you my warmest 

If, gentlemen, the bar of Ireland, with which I acted 
and co-operated (and no greater merit can I presume to 
claim), has deserved applause for the zeal and patience 
with which they assisted in defending the laws and consti- 
tution of Ireland, when menaced by foreign and domestic 
enemies, that zeal was excited by the reverence and admi- 
ration with which they are accustomed to regard our laws 
and constitution. 

If on a recent occasion, awfully portentous (as you are 
pleased to express it) to this kingdom, the great majority 
of that learned and constitutional body with which I am 
proud to have acted, and in whose sentiments I entirely 
and heartily concur, did, as far as it was in their power to 
do, resist the innovation, it was only, gentlemen, to pre- 
serve consistency with themselves, to adhere steadily to the 
principle on which they had so recently before taken up 
arms and submitted to become soldiers — the defence of 
the laws and Constitution of Ireland. 

They saw that the measure so improperly termed a 1 
I nion bcticeen this kingdom and Great Britain was per- 



[chap. I. 

haps the only expedient that could he devised for separating 
the two countries. 

They saw distinctly that it neither was, nor possibly 
could be, a remedy for any of the disorders which have of 
late unhappily afflicted this country — disorders which can 
only be remedied by wise government, salutary laws, or 
perhaps (though to be lamented) by coercion and force ; 
remedies with which, however, a transfer of the Legislature 
from Ireland to Great Britain has no sort of connexion. 

They saw it was a subversion and a sacrifice of the Con- 
stitution of Ireland, and a surrender of the most invaluable 
privilege of a nation, for doubtful, if not idle, speculations 
and visionary objects, when no necessity whatsoever existed 
for any constitutional changes. 

And lastly, they saw that the present state of these 
countries, and of all Europe, rendered the present time 
peculiarly unfit for constitutional experiments and revo- 
lutionary measures. 

" These sentiments account naturally for the conduct of 
that learned body ; sentiments which the discussion of the 
question has fixed and confirmed. 

I reflect, gentlemen, with great satisfaction, that we are 
not singular in our opinion — that these are also your 
sentiments, and I trust and believe those of the nation at 
large ; that they have the sanction of those characters in 
the kingdom confessedly the highest in political wisdom, 
and most distinguished for knowledge of the interests of 
Ireland, and for attachment to those interests. 

I cannot doubt that they must prevail. Gentlemen, it 
is almost superfluous to say, should the British Minister 
think fit to bring forward the measure at any future day, 
you need not entertain any doubt of the firmness and 
integrity of the great majority of the Bar of Ireland. — 
I have the honour to remain, your very obedient and faith- 
fully attached, 

William Saurin. 


Though the question had been so far rejected 
by the omission of the paragraph, yet no opinion 
had been decisively given by the House of Com- 
mons against the principle of the Union ; and the 



House of Lords, by retaining the passage, had 
so far decided in its favour. The subject was 
accordingly renewed, and on various occasions 
brought before the House. 

Mr. Dobbs, a patriotic but eccentric man, pro- 
posed five resolutions, for the purpose, as he 
expressed, of tranquillizing the country. They 
embraced the subjects of Emancipation and Re- 
form. The first resolution proposed that all sine- 
cure places should be abolished, and compensation 
made to the holders ; that no person should sit in 
Parliament who held any office created since 
1782 ; that Catholic Emancipation might be safely 
granted; that tithes should be abolished; that a 
provision should be made for the Catholic clergy 
and the Dissenting congregations. Most of these 
measures had been proposed by the Opposition in 
the last Parliament ; they had been uniformly 
opposed by the Ministers, and on the present 
occasion were destined to meet no better fate. 
The motion was opposed by the Government ; 
and even the usual form observed on such cases 
was dispensed with, and the question of adjourn- 
ment was carried without even a discussion or one 
single word on the subject. 

The haughtiness of Lord Clare was transferred 
to the Commons ; and Lord Castlereagh added to 
the insolence of office all his cold and heartless 
indifference. Nothing of a conciliatory nature 
was suffered to escape the lips of the Govern- 
ment; and though the chief leader in the measure 
of Union (Lord Castlereagh) had pledged himself 
to support Reform, and though the plan of emanci- 
pating the Catholics was proposed to be part of the 
measure of Union, yet the Minister observed a total 
silence on both these subjects, and held out no 
hopes to the people ; but the absolute, uncondi- 
tional surrender of their liberties was exacted. 



[CHAP. I. 

On the 15th February, Lord Corry brought 
forward a motion for a Committee to inquire into 
the state of the nation ; and proposed an address 
to his Majesty, expressive of attachment to his 
person and government, and of the unshaken de- 
termination to preserve the full and final adjust- 
ment of Independence of 1782, as necessary for 
the safety of Ireland and security of the Empire. 
The debate lasted nearly fourteen hours. The 
motion was supported with great ability by Dr. 
Brown, of the College, Messrs. Ponsonby, Knox, 
Ogle, James Fitzgerald, Lord Cole, and Sir John 
Parnell. It was opposed by Messrs. Smith, L. Fox, 
M'Clelland, Osborne (all of whom were created 
Judges), Sir J. Cotter, and Sir John Blaquiere. 
It was lost by 103 to 123. The subject on which 
the Government had founded their principal 
arguments in favour of a Union was that of the 
Regency. The danger of a collision between the 
two countries on such an occasion was advanced 
as a principal cause for proposing the measure. 
Therefore, in order to remedy the difficulty (or 
rather to take away any serious argument, for it 
was nothing more), Mr. James Fitzgerald brought 
in a Regency Bill. 

On the 11th of April, the House went into a 
Committee on the bill, which Lord Castlereagh 
most violently opposed. Mr. Foster (Speaker) 
being now out of the chair, availed himself of the 
opportunity, and made a most able speech against 
the Union, for the space of three hours. He 
replied to the statements made by Mr. Pitt in the 
British House of Commons, and to his attack on 
the Constitution of Ireland. The part regarding 
the trade and commerce of the country evinced 
his knowledge and research, he showed the 
rapid progress that Ireland had made since 1782, 
and the injury that would be likely to result from 

CHAP. I.] 

mr. Foster's speech. 


the Union. He exposed the errors of Mr. Pitt, 
whose speech he termed "a paltry production ;" 
and was most successful in his answer to Lord 
Castlereagh, who had denied that the Revolution 
of 1782 was a final settlement. A few passages 
are accordingly given : — 

Mr. Foster. — " Sir, I feel it almost impossible for me 
to refrain from expressing my deserved indignation, that 
a constitution which it was the pride of this nation to 
acquire — under which the country has so wonderfully 
thriven, and in the operation of which no one imperial 
difficulty has occurred, — that this constitution should be 
sacrificed, and with it the peace and prosperity of the 
country, to a theory which has every argument against 
and none for it, but the subjugation of Ireland to the 
uncontrolled views of a British Minister, which I trust 
will never be relished by Irishmen. # # # 

"I shall go largely, before I sit down, into the adjust- 
ment of 1782 ; and I hope to show, to the satisfaction of 
every man who hears me this night, that those evils of 
which the noble Lord affects to complain have not sprung 
out of that adjustment, but that it has been the cure of 
every evil this country had to complain of, and which the 
Ministerial specific of a Union would again heap upon 
this kingdom; and in this opinion I am fortified by every 
Minister and Ex-Minister of that day. * * 

" In the address from both Parliaments preceding the 
session of 1785, it was stated that there were necessary 
regulations of commerce affecting the two countries which 
had not been adjusted. Commercial arrangements were 
alone spoken of, and had there any measures of constitu- 
tion remained unsettled, would they not have been adverted 
to? Would Mr. Pitt, who began his ministry soon after 
the final adjustment, and who was Minister in 1785 — 
would he have sat quietly when such an opportunity 
offered of giving consideration to a constitutional question, 
if any had remained unsettled ? But if anything could 
more than another show that the constitutional connection 
between the two countries was considered as finally settled, 
it is the unanimous address of the British Parliament, on 
that occasion moved by Mr. Pitt himself, and wherein are 
to be seen all those expressions, nearly word for word, 
which he now applies to the measure of a Union. 


mr. Foster's speech. 

[chap. i. 

Wealth, consolidation, strength, glory, &c. &c, all were 
attached by him as necessary consequences of accepting 
the propositions ; and now are shifted, but with very un- 
happy appropriation, to the measure of a Union. # * 

" 1 respect Mr. Pitt as an English Minister, and give him 
willingly every credit for his financial talents ; but I must 
say, as to the Irish nation he is the worst Minister that it 
ever heard of, and nothing but the utmost rashness could 
induce the man to disturb this country at such a period 
by the introduction of a measure which he must have been 
conscious could not have been received or treated of with- 
out the most alarming war of feeling. The charges against 
me contained in that speech must, if I could feel flattered 
by such a circumstance, have flattered me ; for in a speech 
which occupied upwards of three hours, more than one- 
third of it makes me the subject, and is taken up with, I 
will not say designed, misrepresentations of what has been 
publicly said by me on different occasions, but particularly 
in the debate on the commercial propositions in 1785. 
(The Speaker stated that Mr. Exshaw, the king's printer, 
had received Mr. Pitt's speech to be published with the 
misrepresentations, but had corrected them subsequently on 
his application to him (Mr. Foster) on the subject.) * # 

" I state these particulars to show on what grounds I 
presume that speech (10,000 of which have been distri- 
buted through the country) to have been printed by the 
authority of the Irish Government — a speech which I be- 
lieve has disappointed very much the expectations of those 
by whom it was sent abroad ; for I do not think its depth of 
reasoning, or its convincing display of advantages, such as 
to have produced a single proselyte to the doctrine of a 
Legislative Union. * * * * 

From the period of 1782 to the present, there 
has not arisen with the Parliament of this country 
any political shock or concussion, save this des- 
perate one — this fatal project of Mr. Pitt, to 
which various objects are assigned, but the real 
one is that Mr. Pitt finds that 300 Irish gentle- 
men, forming an Irish resident Parliament, hold 
the purse of the nation too fast in their honest 
grasp for him to dispose of it as he pleases. In 
the commercial propositions, an appropriation of 

CHAP. I.] 



revenue was provided for to go to imperial ex- 
penses, but now no proportion of expense is 
named: you are not asked for any money; so 
you consent to resign your Constitution, — parting 
with that, it is too obvious that the other must 
follow. * •* ' * * 

On this occasion Lord Castlereagh went into a 
long statement of the affairs of the country : he 
calculated the value of imports into Great Britain 
from Ireland at 5,612,689/., on which she raised 
a revenue of 47,562/., whereas Ireland imported 
from England only 3,555,845/., on which she 
raised a revenue of 643,148/. The yearly value of 
Irish manufacture exported to England he repre- 
sented to be 5,510,825/., and of English manu- 
factures* exported to Ireland to be 2,087,672/. 
He took an average of seven years as to the linen 
trade, affirming that Ireland exported to Great 
Britain 35,64S,706 yards of linen, and to the Bri- 
tish colonies 1,259,868 yards— total 36,998,574 ; 
and to foreign countries she exported 4,762,684 
yards, making a total of 41,670,654 yards. He 
then stated that the value of English woollens im- 
ported into Ireland for three years, ending 1793, 
was 599,974/., and the average for three years, 
1797, was 647,900/.; and at the same time the 
value of linen exported to Great Britain was 
3,038,630/., taking the linen at lOd. a yard on an 
average for seven years. 

The bill went through a committee, and was 
ordered to be reported : it left the appointment of 

* Compare this account with that in the Irish Railway Report of 
1840, where the statement as to the trade and commerce of the country 
is set forth, and see there the decline of Irish manufactures, and the 
cessation of the progress that Ireland made after 1782. — See Irish Rail- 
way Report, compiled by the late lamented Secretary for Ireland, W. 
Drummond, there the fallacy of the above statement is clearly demon- 
trated, and from which it will appear that the export trade of Ireland 
has not kept up its proportion, and in quality has not changed but de- 



the executive magistrate to the British Par- 
liament, and so far removed one of the grounds of 
difference that was supposed to exist between the 
two countries. On the 18th the report was 
brought up, when the subject of the Union was 
again gone through, and a most animated debate 
took place ; but on the motion of Lord Castle- 
reagh the bill w r as put off to the 1st of August : 
no division even took place, and thus ended the 



Military force in Ireland at the period of the Union. — Martial law. — 
Cruel sentence on Devereux. — Indemnity bill. — Cases of torture 
known by the Government Trials. — Acquittal of Judkin Fitzgerald. — . 
Lord Avonmore's charge. — Mr. Barrington's resignation as lieutenant 
of yeomanry.— Escheatorship refused to Colonel Cole. — Arts prac- 
tised by Government. — Speeches of Plunket, Moore, and Ponsonby. 
— Ponsonby 's attack on Lord Castlereagh. — House of Lords. — Amend- 
ment proposed by ] ord Powerscourt against the Union. — Last letter of 
Lord Charleraont. — His death. — End of session of 1799. — Conduct 
of Lord Cornwallis. — Addresses in favour of Union. — Lord Donough- 
more's conduct. — Orange Lodges hostile to Union. — Divisions sown 
among them and the Catholics. — Offers to the Roman Catholic clergy. 
— Resolution of the prelates. — Veto. — Catholics grossly duped. — 
Anecdote of Lord Cornwallis by Judge Johnson. — Catholics adverse 
to the Union. — Meeting and speech of Mr. Daniel O'Connell, bar- 
rister, against it. — Resolutions on the subject. 

When Lord Castlereagh moved the supply, on the 
18th of February, 1799, he stated that the expense 
of the war establishment was 4,815,367/. for keep- 
ing up in Ireland a military force of 137,590 men, 
of which the regulars amounted to 32,281, — the 
militia to 26,654, the yeomanry to 52,274,* — 

* The following authentic document shows the force and the means 
required to carry the Union : — 

Regulars, 32,281 .. £1,218,955 

Militia, 26,634 .. 769,012 

Yeomanry, 57,274 . . 687,485 

British, 23,201 . . 666,799 

Artillery, 1,500 ^ Included in Ordnance 

Drivers and Commissariat, 1,700 S and Commissariat Ex- 


Total military force in Ireland .... 137,590 ! ! ! 
Serving abroad . . „ 3,234 





the entire to 138,000 men. Notwithstanding this 
overwhelming force, he said it was necessary to 
arm Government with stronger powers. With 
this view a bill had been introduced on the 20th 
of February, by the Attorney-General (Toler), 
entitled, "A Bill to suppress the Rebellion," 
though in fact the rebellion had long since been 
quelled, and the decaying embers alone remained, 
which time and gentle measures would gradually 
extinguish. The bill invested the Lord Lieu- 
tenant with discretionary power to suspend the 
# Habeas Corpus Act, and establish martial law ; it 
empowered him to order all military officers, or 
any persons appointed by him, to suppress the 
Rebellion in the most summary manner they 
thought proper, by courts-martial, or otherwise, 
without any appeal to any legal tribunal ; this 
was to be enforced against all concerned in, or in 
any way assisting, the Rebellion, or maliciously 
attacking or injuring the persons or property of 
his Majesty's loyal subjects, and was greatly ex- 
tended by the power given to arrest any person 
upon mere suspicion. This severe, and most un- 
constitutional measure was supported by Lord 
Castlereagh, Dr. Duigenan, John Claudius 
Beresford, and Maurice Fitzgerald, knight of 

Accordingly, the entire county of Antrim was 
declared to be in a state of disturbance, and pro- 
claimed by orders of General Nugent, and placed 
under martial law ; the county of Mayo was also 

Ordnance, £442,659 

Barracks, 350,000 

Commissariat, 132,000 


Miscellaneous, including 98,327 for troops 

serving abroad 549,457 





proclaimed by the Lord Lieutenant, and divisions 
of troops stationed in various quarters throughout 
the country. Trials by court-martial still con- 
tinued. On the 21st of May the case of Walter 
Devereux occurred : he was accused of having 
been a leader in the insurrection the year before. 
He was tried by a military tribunal, and con- 
demned to death. The sentence was singular 
and barbarous, — that the prisoner should be 
hanged ; that he should have his head cut off, 
his heart burned, and his body quartered. This 
cruel and infamous sentence Lord Cornwallis, it 
is said, after mature deliberation, approved and 
confirmed! This was but one of the numerous 
instances of Lord Clare and Lord Castlereagh's 
system — their mode of governing Ireland, — their 
" vigor beyond the law." It recalls to mind the 
case of Scotland, which affords, however, but a 
faint parallel : — after the rebellion in favour of 
the Pretender, in 1745-G, when Lord President 
Forbes remonstrated with the Duke of Cumber- 
land against the outrages committed in the High- 
lands by his troops, and told him that his soldiers 
were breaking the laws, the Duke replied " The 
laws, my lord ; by G — Til make a brigade give 
laws." Such was the case of Ireland; so that 
with perfect truth it has been said, that the object 
of the Government was to carry the Union by 
terror and intimidation. In furtherance of this 
project, Mr. Toler brought in an indemnity bill, 
on the 29th of April, — a measure well suited to 
the character of the author, and to the conduct 
pursued by the Government towards the people, 
but fatal to the reputation of the House of Com- 
mons. This bill indemnified all persons who had 
resorted to illegal measures against the insur- 
gents. One of its provisions enacted that the jury 
should not convict if the magistrates could prove 
vol. v. D 



that in what they had done they had acted for the 
purpose of suppressing the Rebellion. This mea- 
sure having become law, presented an effectual 
bar to redress, and so it appeared to Lord Avon- 
more, who tried a case under it, and who ex 
pressed himself in a very remarkable manner on 
the occasion ; thus, as far as regarded all those 
individuals who had suffered from the violent and 
illegal conduct of magistrates, it was a complete 
denial of justice, but as regarded the Legislature 
it set a seal on their conduct, and affixed upon its 
character an everlasting stain, which neither con- 
trition nor time could efface. It was by measures 
such as these that the Government calculated on 
effecting their designs : by thus degrading the 
representatives in the eyes of the people, they 
knew the nation would soon become indifferent to 
their fate, and rather prefer their extinction to 
their existence; realizing the very words of Lord 
Clare, that " he would make the people of Ireland 
sick of their Constitution." 

The case of Matthew Scott, tried in ]799 before 
Mr. Justice Kelly, at Clonmel, is also illustrative 
of the character of the laws, and of the temper of 
those who administered them. Scott was a 
wealthy and respectable inhabitant of Clonmel — 
a man of large property, and high repute; he was 
imprisoned on a charge (totally false) of sending 
pikes in his boats that went laden with corn. 
Judkin Fitzgerald refused no less a sum than 
100,000/. bail for him ! and when applied to, swore 
" By G— 9 he shall not be brought to trial!" How- 
ever, after much intercession in his favour, he 
was let out of jail on giving bail in the amount of 
20,000/. : an action was brought against Fitz- 
gerald, who relied on the indemnity act, protect- 
ing those who had acted since the 25th of October, 
1798, for the suppression of the insurrection, and 



the preservation of the public peace. Captain 
Jephson, who commanded a corps of yeomanry in 
the county, was examined on the trial, and swore 
that the conduct of Fitzgerald was the most in- 
famous he ever witnessed, and such as if per- 
severed in would assuredly ruin the country : 
that he had persecuted in a most oppressive and 
cruel manner, a man of the name of Wells, who 
was perfectly innocent, and what Fitzgerald had 
stated was utterly false ; the jury, however, found 
a verdict for Fitzgerald * 

Another case was that of Doyle, merchant and 
cloth manufacturer, of Carrick ; it occurred in 
1798, but the trial did not take place till 1801. 
Doyle had been arrested by Fitzgerald, tied up, 
and flogged ; he could not endure the torture, and 
after 100 lashes he fainted. He was guilty of no 
offence, and accordingly brought an action. Fitz- 
gerald defended himself; and in his speech dis- 
closed some of his enormities, in which he seemed 
to glory: he stated, as a proof of his services, 
that he had arrested a Mr. O'Brien (whom he 
called colonel of the united party), to have him 
flogged. O'Brien made an excuse to retire, as 
he wanted to shave himself, and pretending to 
do so, he cut his throat to avoid the horror and 
ignominy of the torture. This act Fitzgerald 
gravely advanced as a defence to the action ! He 
then gave a catalogue of the tortures he had 
inflicted : he had flogged many men on the 16th 
of May, at Nenagh ; on the 23rd he had flogged 
a Mr. Fox, whom he called a general ; a Mr. 
Quinn, whom he called a colonel ; a man of the 

* On this trial Captain Jephson stated that he had known some of 
the rebels who had given him information, one of them said he had 
tampered with the people of Carrick, and that he had found they 
would go great lengths for Catholic Emancipation and Parliamentary 
Reform, but when he sought to seduce them, and mentioned the subject 
of rising in arms, they to a man refused him ! 

D 2 


name of Kearey, and a man of the name of Wells, 
a yeoman in Captain Jephson's corps ; that Capt. 
Jephson had threatened he would get his men to 
fire on him, but " I defied him, and flogged Wells 
and two more men, though they were all inno- 
cent ! !" — these were his words ; and it was for 
this man that the Attorney-General Toler (after- 
wards Lord Norbury) got the indemnity bill 

The reader must bear in mind that Lord Clare, 
Lord Camden, and Mr. Pitt denied such acts of 
torture had been used. Lord Camden, in his 
speech in the English House of Lords was express 
on this point, saying, " nothing more than neces- 
sary was resorted to but here appears the naked 
fact, proved by their friend and protege, the man 
for whom was passed this very indemnity bill ; 
here he comes forth, avowing and glorying in the 
fact, and adding this very remarkable note and 
comment, " that he flogged them, though 
they were all innocent !" But another cir- 
cumstance appeared on this trial : a disclosure was 
made which brings the guilt nearer to head-quar- 
ters. In his defence, Fitzgerald produced a 
letter, addressed to him, and signed by Wm. Bag- 
well, " Brigade Major," dated 6th June, 1798, — 
a military man, and then in the employment of 
Government : in this letter, Bagwell informed 
Fitzgerald, " that if he found any good to arise from 
flogging he might go on with it, but let it not reach 
my ears 1 1" Well might Lord Camden say 
he knew nothing of flogging. The evidence 
given on this trial also, by Captain Jephson, is 
too important to be omitted, and serves to lift up 
the veil from the entire scene of these sanguinary 
government orgies : he swears, " I wrote to 
Government for troops, for two reasons ; 1st, be- 
cause I thought from Fitzgerald's conduct no loyal 



yeoman would bear arms ; this I feared from 
the despair manifested by the inhabitants of the coun- 
try on hearing of the flogging ; 2ndly, I was afraid 
that not only the yeomen would not bear arms, but 
that the cruelty exercised in inflicting the torture 
would infuse a spirit of disloyalty into the most loyal, 
and consequently encourage the most disaffected. 
I am of opinion that Sheriff FitzgeraUCs conduct ivas 
calculated to promote rebellion ; for had it not been 
for my being possessed with superior information, 
the oath of allegiance I had taken, the property I 
had in the country, and my being a captain of a 
yeomanry corps, / would, on seeing such wanton 
cruelty, have joined the rebels F 

Lord Avonmore, in charging the jury said, 
u Before the indemnity acts passed, no damages 
you could give would be too great, but if under 
these acts you believe the defendant was forced, 
through imperious necessity, to commit this abo- 
minable outrage against the plaintiff, (a man of 
acknowledged loyalty) you are bound to find for 
him : the information he acted on he has told you 
was that of a vile, perjured, and infamous informer, 
and this too not upon oath! To render a verdict 
for the plaintiff of any avail, you must find that 
the defendant acted maliciously, and not with the 
intent of suppressing the Rebellion, or of serving 
the state ; such are the words of the Act, which 
places an insuperable bar between injury and redress , 
and sets all equity and justice at dejiance F at the 
same time he dashed the Act upon the cushion, 
and threw himself back on the bench. The Jury 

ACQUITTED F IT Z GERALD ! ! lipoil which lie took 

legal proceedings against the man he had so 
flogged, and recovered damages against him to 
the amount of 424/., as by the law a verdict for 
defendant saddled the plaintiff with double costs. 
What excuse could Mr. Pitt offer for these 


mr. grattan's sentiments, [chap. II • 

proceedings? — treason was no apology for them. 
He did not treat the Irish as if they were Chris- 
tians; they were not treated like rebel Christians, 
but like rebel dogs ! It is not a matter of wonder 
that the country was driven into rebellion, but it 
is a wonder that any man remained loyal. What, 
not like our government ! — flog him : not like our 
religion! — 100 lashes: not like our uniform!- — 
100 lashes more ! not like our toasts ! — another 
100 ! Such were the principles of Government 
at this period, and to protect the exercise of them 
the Indemnity Bill was passed. 

Government were aware that torture was in- 
flicted, and Lord Clare had the boldness to jus- 
tify it as the only means to extract information : 
that is, not to punish the guilty, but to punish 
men, perhaps innocent, in order to make them dis- 
cover the guilty ! Mr. (afterwards Judge) Flet- 
cher, an excellent and humane man, who was 
counsel in Doyle's case, stated, that when the 
martial law bill was passed in England, it was pro- 
posed to introduce a clause against torture, but 
the Attorney-General opposed it, saying, " It 
cannot but be known to every one that neither 
martial law, nor any other law, human or divine, 
can justify the application of torture, or authorize 
its infliction." 

The accounts of these horrors used to throw 
Mr. Grattan into a state of the greatest excite- 
ment, and affected him with spasms that con- 
vulsed his entire frame ; then he would exclaim 
against the authors : " I cannot bear to think of 
it — it puts me in a horrid state. Pitt fermented 
the Rebellion to carry the Union. Yet I could 
forgive him the Union, for he was an Englishman, 
but I never can forgive the torture.* It is not 

* In a conversation with the late Lord Holland on this subject, his 
remark was, ''The Irish do not know how to plant the dagger." 



over yet, — the people will not forgive it: when* 
the recital even at this distance of time (1818) 
creates such sensation. — Men will not see the 
necessity, and will feel the disgrace. " 

In some men's minds there are limits to cor- 
ruption and oppression, beyond which a love of 
interest, or even cruelty, will not lead them to 
pass. The conduct of the Government, and the 
violent and corrupt practices to which they re- 
sorted, induced Mr. Barrington to separate him- 
self from that party, and to give up the com- 
mission that he held in the yeomanry, and he 
accordingly sent in his resignation. Unfortu- 
nately, he had supported the Government in 
several of their savage acts, and in many of their 
corrupt measures; he therefore lost much of the 
credit that would naturally have attended the 
expression of such just and honourable sentiments, 
as will be found in the letter that signified his 
retirement ; it was a sign of the times, and is 
therefore worth exhibiting here. 

Mr. Jonah Barrington to Mb, William Saurin. 

Dublin, January 1799. 

Sir, — Permit me to resign, through you, the commis- 
sion which I hold in the Lawyers' Cavalry. 1 lesion it 
with the regret of a soldier who knows his duty to his 
king, yet feels his duty to his country, and will depart 
from neither but with his life. 

That blind and fatal measure proposed by the Irish 
Government to extinguish the political existence of Ire- 
land — to surrender its legislature, its trade, its dearest 
rights, and proudest* prerogatives into the hands of a Bri- 
tish minister and a British council. 

Consistent, therefore, with my loyalty and my oath, 2" 
can no longer continue subject to the indefinite and nujore- 
seen commands of a military government , which so madly 
hazards the integrity of the Biiiish empire, and existence of 
the British constitution, to crush a rising nation, and ag- 
grandize a despotic minister. 


I never will abet a new developed plan, treacherous and 
Ungrateful, — stimulating two sects against each other to 
enfeeble both, and then making religious feuds a pretext 
for political slavery. 

Mechanical obedience is the duty of a soldier, but ac- 
tive, uninfluenced integrity the indispensable attribute of a 
legislator when the preservation of his country is in ques- 
tion ; and as the same frantic authority which meditates 
our civil annihilation , might, in the same frenzy, meditate 
military projects from which my feelirigs, my principles, and 
my honour might revolt, I feel it right to separate ray civil 
and military functions;' and to secure the honest unin- 
terrupted exercise of the one, I relinquish the indefinite 
subjection of the other. 

I return the arms I received from Government. I re- 
ceived them pure, and restore them not dishonoured. 

I shall now resume my civil duties with zeal and with 
energy, — elevated by the hope that the Irish Parliament 
will never assume a power extrinsic of its delegation, and 
will convince the British nation that we are a people 
equally impregnable to the attacks of intimidation as the 
shameless practice of corruption. Yours, &c. 

Jonah Barrington. 

» Lieut. 1st Cavalry. 

To William Saurin, Esq., Commandant 
Lawyers' Corps, &c., &c. 

Among the many artifices resorted to by the 
Government to effect their object, the most unjust 
and the most glaring was that which occurred in 
the instance of Colonel Cole. It was an act of 
the greatest partiality and injustice. Mr. Cole 
was an anti-unionist ; his regiment was quartered 
in Malta, and he was ordered to leave the country 
immediately and join it. His constituents in the 
county Louth were known to be inimical to the 
union, and had determined to elect Mr. Balfour, 
a person of similar principles with themselves. 
In order to prevent this, the Government refused 
to grant to Colonel Cole the office of Escheator- 
ship of Munster, an office analogous to the stew- 
ardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, and therefore 
granted as a matter of course, and granted at 


the same time to Mr. Oliver, the member for 
Kilmallock, that he might retire, and that a 
unionist might be returned in his place. This 
conduct drew down upon them the heavy censure 
of the opposition ; the question was discussed on 
the 15th May, when Mr. Plunket, Mr. Ponsonby, 
Mr. Moore, and Mr. Barrington, denounced the 
proceedings of Government in unsparing terms, 
and poured forth a torrent of bold and well- 
merited condemnation upon Lord Castlereagh. 
Mr. George Ponsonby was particularly severe, 
and drew forth a sharp and spirited reply. The 
motion for the writ, however, was carried ; and 
the question of adjournment to the 1st June, pro- 
posed by Lord Castlereagh, passed by a majority 
of 47 to 33. The speeches delivered on this 
occasion are worthy of remark. 

Mr. (afterwards Lord) Plunket : — 

The noble lord at this moment exhibits a phenomenon 
unexampled in the history of any free country. After 
being baffled and disgraced in a vital measure, he con- 
tinues to brave the Parliament and the public, and to tell 
them that that measure shall be carried, no matter by w hat 
means. I am told, Sir, that this question has no connec- 
tion with the L'nion. I deny it. No two questions can 
be more essentially involved, because the noble lord by his 
silence on this night avows that he means by a barefaced 
exertion of prerogative to enforce this reprobated measure 
against the fair sense of Parliament and people, and there- 
fore I will not tire the House by trying the merits of a 
question which has been already so amply discussed, and 
so explicitly reprobated. I will beg to call the attention 
of the House to the conduct of the noble lord and of the 
Government in the prosecution of it. This measure, Sir, 
was brought forward with but little interval indeed being 
allowed for the public to examine it before its introduction 
to the House. In that little interval, however, public 
scorn and indignation had attached upon it. But still 
it was brought into this house accompanied by the execra- 
tions of the people of Ireland, but at the same time tuith 
the proud boast, and I do believe with the childish hope 



on the part of the noble lord that it would be carried by a 
triumphant majority. Of its fate I need not remind you ; 
it was flung out of Parliament with abhorrence. How, 
Sir, was the majority formed by whom it was rejected? 
Was any man bribed to resist the Union ? Was any man 
promised to resist the Union ? Was any man dismissed 
from office, or threatened with dismissal, to make him 
resist the Union? Was any mean motive, or selfish 
interest, or sordid principle of the human heart, pressed 
into the service against the Union ? No, Sir ; it was dis- 
missed and defeated by the instinct and the reason, and 
the virtue and the talents, and the property of the country. 
What was the consequence ? Have the honourable men 
who were dismissed from office been restored ? and has 
the absurd projector who failed in his rash experiment 
been dismissed ? No, Sir ; but the men who were turned 
out of office because they gave a wise and honest opinion, 
which has been confirmed by Parliament and by the nation, 
are kept out of office merely because they gave that 
opinion, and the minister, who brought forward this weak 
and wicked measure, after being disgraced and baffled, 
retains his place. I therefore repeat it, the noble lord 
exhibits a political phenomenon unparalleled in the his- 
tory of any free country. In former times, when the 
minister has found the sense of the Legislature and the 
country against him, his measures have been abandoned, 
and he himself has sought safety and retirement. But 
here the minister retains his place, and braves the Legisla- 
ture, and braves the country, and avows his perseverance in 
the measure ivhich they have trampled on, and avows his 
determination to carry that measure by means the most 
unconstitutional and shameless, 

Mr. Arthur Moore :— 

Sir, there is no man who is an attentive observer of 
public occurrences, and who keeps an eye on the measures 
of the Administration, who must not have seen, and seen 
with affliction, that the measures which have been taken, 
and are now in daily and unremitting practice, to effec- 
tuate the Union, are such as no honest man can justify, 
which, while they stamp the authors of them with 
indelible disgrace, must render the incorporation of the 
Legislatures of the two countries, if carried, unpermanent, 
and the discontents and calamities of this nation eternal. 



Was it not, Sir, enough that the whole authority of the 
Court, both ordinary and extraordinary, was exerted to 
bring about the measure, and that upon a full and fair 
discussion of its merits it was rejected by the unbought 
and uninfluenced sense of the representatives of the people. 
Was it not enough that since that period the efforts of 
corruption have been redoubled, that promises are lavished, 
and stipulations made for offices and honours ; that our 
liberties are brought to market overt, where every dishonest 
man may sell and buy. but where no honest man is permitted 
to show his face ? Is it not enough that the public sense 
is daily misrepresented by fables and false reports of 
change of sentiment, of conversion from error, of majori- 
ties in favour of the measure in this house ? Is it not 
enough that the sister kingdom and the British cabinet 
are evidently and designedly misled and misinformed as 
to the real state of public opinion in this country ? Is it 
not enough that the public money is perverted to the 
purpose of extinguishing the free and fair communication 
of opinion, and of corrupting the press to become the 
vehicle of false statement, of personal calumniation, and of 
libel of the Irish Parliament? Will not these means, 
these efforts content them ? Are they not satisfied with 
having the purse and the power of the country in their 
hands, and actively employed in forwarding their views? 
Are they not content with purchasing the mercenary aid 
of every hireling scribbler, and circulating gratis the 
wicked, seditious, — nay, I think in some instances little, 
if at all, short of treasonable publications of interested or 
ignorant men, through the medium of the public post- 
office, to all parts of the kingdom, while the communica- 
tion of every publication in favour of the legislative inde- 
pendence of Ireland is not only withheld but forbidden ? 
Are they not satisfied to sap and undermine our constitu- 
tion by the slow and silent approaches of unremitting 
corruption, but must it be boldly and opening assailed 
by an undisguised aggression upon the privileges and 
independence of Parliament. Sir, in my mind the state- 
ment which has been made by my honourable friend 
ought to raise the indignation of the House against those 
who have been the wicked advisers of so unjust and 
partial an exercise of a prerogative vested in the Crown for 
the purpose of guarding the privileges and securing the 
independence of the House of Commons? At any time, 



or under any circumstances, the transaction which has 
been stated to have taken place between the executive 
Government and the honourable and gallant colonel would 
have been highly disgraceful to the Administration, and 
an unpardonable invasion of the privileges of this House; 
but that such conduct should be pursued at a time when 
the greatest and most important subject that ever agitated 
a free assembly is still suspended over our heads, and is 
we understand again to be brought forward ; that the 
practice of ministers here should be so different from the 
professions of Mr. Pitt, who, in his speech on the Union, 
assures Great Britain and Ireland, and Europe, that the 
measure is not to be resumed unless called for by the free, 
uninfluenced, unequivocal sense and opinion of the Par- 
liament and people of Ireland ; that the people of both 
nations should be told from authority that fair means 
only are to be used when every foul means are practised ; 
that this House should he mocked and insulted from day to 
day with the insincere assurance that all that is sought for 
on the subject is the unbiassed sense of Parliament, at the 
same time that before a member is allowed to vacate his seat 
he must condition that his successor shall support the 
Union, is such a transcendant violation of Parliamentary 
freedom as this House ought not only to resent but to 
punish. Sir, if this office of Escheatorship is to be 
disposed of by the Crown exclusively to those who will pre- 
viously condition to support the measures of the ministry, 
the Place Bill, instead of being a means of securing the in- 
dependence of Parliament, becomes at once a formidable 
instrument of ministerial influence and corruption, and in- 
stead of being a barrier of defence against the undue exercise 
of the prerogative, it legitimates its abuse, and forwards and 
facilitates its encroachments. Surely a bill which was 
sought for by the most popular character* in this country 
for years, which for so many sessions in former Parliaments 
was successively resisted by the Court, and perseveringly 
demanded by the country, but which was at length con- 
ceded as a sacrifice on the one side, and received as 
an acquisition on the other, — surely this popular statute 
will not now be said to authorize the evil it was enacted 
to remedy, namely, the grievous and enormous influence of 
the minister of the Crown over the representatives of the 
people in Parliament. 

* Mr. John Forbes. 



On the motion that the House should adjourn, 
Mr. George Ponsonby delivered a most animated 
and spirited speech, with more than ordinary 
fervour, and concluded as follows : — 

Then, Sir, I am to understand the noble lord this 
House is to adjourn. Be it so; let the House adjourn ; 
let the noble lord depart from this House at the head 
of his miserable majority, but let his character go along 
with him, let it stalk by his side, let it cling to him ; 
let it be understood by this House and by the country that 
all the noble lord's professions were hollow and hypocriti- 
cal, the canting of a mountebank. Swift, in his enumera- 
tions of the qualities requisite for a great statesman, says, 
that the first and most necessary is that his words should 
be applied to everything but the indication of his mind. 
However deficient the noble lord may be in every other 
qualification of a great statesman, he has certainly been 
most largely gifted with this. Let the House adjourn ; 
but let it be understood by this House and by the coun- 
try, that notwithstanding the solemn declaration of the 
noble lord in this house, that the measure of a Union 
(though considered by him as necessary to the prosperity 
of this country) should not be urged without their free 
uninfluenced consent. The noble lord has had recourse to 
the meanest and basest efforts, in direct contradiction 
to those professions. Let the House adjourn ; but let il be 
remembered that those poicers which have been entrusted to 
the noble lord for the protection of the privileges and inde- 
pendence of Parliament have been perverted by him to the 
base and fraudulent purpose of packing that Parliament, 
like a grand jury. Let the House adjourn ; but let it be 
remembered that the noble lord is at the head of a great 
army ; let it be understood that the object of the noble 
lord is to pack the Parliament for the purpose of carrying 
a vote in favour of this measure, and to enforce the vote of 
that packed Parliament by that army. Let the House 
adjourn ; but let the character of the noble lord be fully 
understood, let it stick to him, let it be known that he is 
fair in profession, but foul in practice ; let his character 
go to the people, let it be understood that after saying no 
further steps should be taken in this measure until this 
House and the country should have changed their minds, 
he has abused the power of the Crown to support him in 



that very conduct — against which he stands so solemnly 
pledged. Let the House adjourn ; the character of the 
noble lord and of bis Government will go forth in their pro- 
per colours ; let them persist in their system of fraud and 
corruption, it will avail them nothing when it is (as now 
it must be) perfectly understood ; it will only confirm the 
opposition of this House and of the country to a measure, 
the iniquity of which is sufficiently characterised by the 
infamous means resorted to for its accomplishment. 

Lord Castlereagh replied with spirit, but Mr. 
Ponsonby was prevented by the rules of the 
House from making any rejoinder. Thus this 
well-contested session terminated, and the House 
was abruptly prorogued. The Government failed 
in their object, and the question of Union was 
rejected. But the Lord-Lieutenant, in his speech 
from the throne, introduced the subject, and 
alluded to the addresses voted to his Majesty 
passed by both Houses of the British Parliament 
in favour of the measure. 

It is a matter not less of wonder than regret 
that the proceedings of the House of Lords 
demand so little attention. This was the region 
of sober dulness and of sleepy silence — its in- 
mates were the ghosts of politicians. The body 
had been long under the arrogant dictatorship of 
Lord Clare, whose imperious and angry sway 
kept it in perfect thraldom, so that even few scin- 
tillations of patriotism could appear. On some 
occasions a noble spirit, however, burst forth. 
Dixon, bishop of Down, Marley, bishop of Wa- 
terford (Mr. Grattan's uncle), Lord Moira, Lord 
Charlemont, Lord Mountmorris, resisted the iron 
rule of the Chancellor, though with less vigour 
than the exigences of the times required, and 
without that just severity and indignation with 
which the insolence of tyranny and the hatred of 
popular liberty deserved to be reprimanded. 

On the 22nd of January, 1799, at the opening of 


the session, Lord Ormond proposed the address, 
containing a passage favourable to the Union. He 
was seconded by Lord Glandore. This was 
opposed with considerable spirit by Lord Powers- 
court,* who, with that attachment to his country 
which he uniformly manifested both in public and 
private, denied at once all right in the Parliament 
to entertain such a question as the Union, declar- 
ing its utter incompetence to part with the trust 
reposed in it ; and he accordingly moved an 
amendment in those terms. This was rejected 
by 46 to 19.t The address was supported by 
Lords Clare, Glentworth, Carysfort, Bective, and 
Yelveston, who in this instance abandoned that 
dignified station that he had acquired in his early 
days, and tarnished the unpurchased laurels of 
1782. The address was carried by 52 to 17. 

In this list appears the venerated name of 
Charlemont. Faithful to his national feelings, 
true to his early principles, he opposed the de- 
struction of that constitution he had so nobly 
contributed to obtain. His mind had expanded 
towards his Catholic countrymen, and he did not 
think that their admission to the Legislature re- 
quired its transfer or its abolition. His conduct 
on this occasion met with the approbation of his 
country. Several addresses were presented to 
him in consequence, and, among others, one from 
the wealthy and populous city of Cork. As his 
reply was almost his last act on behalf of Ireland, 

* This noble house shows the withering effects of the Union — two 
generations have departed since, the beautiful residence is deserted — a 
natural consequence of English education and Irish absentees, 
f These names were as follows : — 

Bishops, Dixon (of Down), Marlay (Waterford and Lismore). 

Duke of Leinster. 
Lord Enniskillen, 

Lord Bel more. 
Lord Dunsany. 
Lord Lismore. 

Lord Mountmorris. Lord Charlemont. 
Lord Granard. Lord Eellamont. 

Lord Powerscourt. Lord Arran. 

Lord Mount Cashel. Lord Cloncurry. 
Lord Castle Stuart. 

48 lord charlemont's last letter, [chap, ii. 

it is worthy of being placed in remembrance, and 
added to the records of his imperishable fame. 

My Lord, — You felt for your honour and your dignity, 
you knew your duty to your country, and therefore on the 
22nd of last month nobly vindicated the independence 
of its Legislature. Your Lordship has proved yourself not 
only the hereditary counsellor of the State, but the here- 
ditary and incorruptible guardian of the constitution. 
Such conduct will live in the hearts of your countrymen ; 
they are grateful, and act with you. With that auspicious 
era when our constitution was immutably established, your 
name, my Lord, is inseparably connected. Your recent 
conduct will add new celebrity to a name endeared to your 
countrymen, and revered by the world. 
Cork, Feb. 13th, 1799. 


Gentlemen, — Though utterly disabled by the mi- 
serable state of my health from expressing my gratitude 
in a manner any way satisfactory to myself, no malady 
can possibly prevent me from feeling in its full extent the 
obligation you have conferred by making me the medium 
of thanks to those noble personages who on a late occa- 
sion, however unsuccessfully, supported in the House of 
Lords what with you we must ever think the cause of our 
country. Your approbation gives additional weight to 
our sentiments, and adds to our confidence respecting the 
line of conduct we have hitherto pursued, and in which we 
are determined to persevere. 

With every sincere acknowledgment for this, and for all 
your former favours, I join with my noble associates in 
having the honour to be, gentlemen, your most obliged 
and most faithful humble servant, 

Charlemont. # 

Feb. 25th, 1799. 

The interval between the session of 1 799 and that 
of 1800 was not thrown away by the Government. 
Undeterred by the opposition they had met with, 
undismayed by the defeat they experienced, and 
unconcerned at the national indignation vented 
upon them, they still prepared further devices, 

* After a severe attack of illness he expired in the month of August, 


and proposed bolder and more effectual plans of 
operation. All that could be accomplished by 
gold or by iron, by bribes or by threats, or by 
promises, was set in motion ; every effort was 
strained to brinsf round those who were disin- 
clined, to seduce those who were hostile but 
necessitous, to terrify the timid, and bear down 
the fearless and those who had at heart the 
interest and independence of their country. The 
doors of the treasury were opened, and a deluge 
of corruption covered the land. The bench of 
bishops, the bench of judges, the bar, the re- 
venue, the army, the navy, civil offices, military 
and naval establishments, places, pensions, and 
titles, were defiled and prostituted for the pur- 
pose of carrying the great Government object — 
this ill-omened Union. The Place Bill was scan- 
dalously abused in order to model the House of 
Commons ; men who were hostile were let out — 
men who were friendly were brought in ; both 
were bribed, the one for their silence, the other 
for their activity. The right of petition was 
grossly infringed ; threats, inducements, and 
fabrications,* were resorted to ; meetings were 
prevented by the military, and others overawed 

* We, the undersigned freeholders and landholders of the county of 
Meath, finding our names, without our concurrence, affixed to a pub- 
lication as our approving of the abominable measure of a Legislative 
Union, do hereby agree to prosecute, as far as the law will admit, the 
ersons concerned in such an insolent imposition, and we do wish to 
ave our names affixed and added to the petition given into the honour- 
able House of Commons by our worthy member, Hamilton Gorges, Esq. 
Dated this 14th Feb. 1800. 

Here followed a number of signatures. 

We, the undersigned freeholders and landholders of the county 
Meath, having-been imposed on by the false representation of the effects 
of a Legislative Union, which we were duped into a belief, by men 
whose rank in life ought to obtain our confidence, but whose conduct in 
that very transaction convinces us wc have been imposed on. We 
do hereby retract our signatures to such an abominable measure, and 
request to be permitted to add our names to the petition given into the 
honourable House of Commons by our worthy member, Hamilton 
VOL. V. E 



by the presence of an armed force — others again 
by loaded artillery with matches lighted. Never 
in the annals of history can be found a greater 
combination of force, fraud, violence, bribery, and 
illegality. Sheriffs were nominated who pre- 
vented county meetings, and so little decorum 
or restraint was observed by the Government, 
that the Lord Chancellor and the Attorney- 
General did not consider it unconstitutional, in- 
decent, or inconsistent with the duty or the 
dignity of their station, to affix their names to an 
address calling on the High Sheriff of one of the 
principal counties (Tipperary) not to convene a 
meeting of the freeholders to petition against the 

But to the honour of Ireland it must be re- 
corded, that notwithstanding all this overwhelm- 
ing influence, these unscrupulous, these uncon- 
stitutional proceedings, a most honourable and 
persevering resistance was offered, and the pro- 
ject of Union was steadily and nobly combated 
both within and without the doors of Parliament. 
To the treaty of 1782 there were but two dissen- 
tient voices in the House of Commons — to that 
of the Union there were 120; in 1782, twenty- 
six counties petitioned for the independence of 
Ireland — twenty-eight counties now petitioned 
against its extinction, of which twenty were 
unanimous ; eight principal cities and towns ; 
twelve municipal corporations ; Dublin, and all 
the mercantile, the manufacturing, and trading 
extent of the kingdom. The petition of the 
county of Down contained 17,000 signatures 
against the Union, and the counter-petition but 

Gorges, Esq., declaring our utter abhorrence to the measure of a Union ; 
that we conceive it to be calculated for the destruction of our free 

Dated this 15th Feb. 1800. 

Here follow a number of signatures. 




415.* Only 7,000 individuals petitioned in favour 
of the Union, and 1 10,000 freeholders and 707,000 
persons signed petitions against the measure, and 
within doors the minister could not carry his 
measure by more than forty-two ; and if all the 
votes had been given, his majority would have 
been considerably less. In the autumn of 1799, 
the Lord-Lieutenant made a tour through Ireland, 
and his partisans availed themselves of this oppor- 
tunity to procure addresses to him from various 
towns and places through which he passed. The 
Hutchinson family were peculiarly active. For- 
getful of the early reputation obtained by their 
father in supporting the rights and interests of his 
country, they deviated into other ways, and 
directed their attention to less extended and less 
elevated objects. Their connection with the Ca- 
tholics had got for one branch of the family an 
influence which unfortunately was exerted on 
this occasion against the Constitution, addresses 
from some of that body were obtained through 
Lord Donoughmore's impolitic interference, and 
division was thereby sown among the Catholics.f 

* The English landed proprietors and absentees petitioned in favour of 
the Union. 

f At a General Meeting of the Roman Catholics of the city of Waterford 
and its vicinity, 28th June, 1799, Peter St. Leger, Esq., in the 

The following were appointed a Committee to prepare a Declaration 
on the measure of a Legislative Union : — Rev. Dr. Thomas Ilearn, 
Thomas Sherlock, Esq., Edward Sheil, Esq., Jeremiah Ryan, Esq., 
Thomas Hearn, Esq., M.D. 

Resolved, that the following declaration be adopted : — 
The measure of a Legislative Union between Great Britain and 
Ireland having been recommended to the consideration of both his par- 
liaments by our most gracious Sovereign, the common father of his 
people, we, his Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the Catholics of the 
city of Waterford and its vicinity, have thought it incumbent upon us to 
make this public avowal of our sentiments on this important and inte- 
resting occasion. 

We are firmly convinced that a complete and entire Union between 
Great Britain and Ireland, founded on equal and liberal principles, and 
on a sense of mutual interests and affections, is a measure of wisdom 
E 2 



[chap. n. 

Thus did Lord Donoughmore seek to effect a 
most difficult object, and unite two things nearly 
incompatible — popularity and profit ; and he most 

and expediency for this kingdom, and will effectually promote the 
strength and prosperity of both, and we trust it will afford the surest 
means of allaying those unhappy distractions, and removing those penal 
exclusions on the score of religion, which have too long prevailed in 
this country, and by consolidating the resources of both kingdoms, op- 
pose the most effectual resistance to the destructive projects of both 
foreign and domestic enemies. 

Strongly impressed with these sentiments, we look forward with 
earnest anxiety to the moment when the two sister nations may be inse- 
parably united in the full enjoyment of the blessings of a free constitu- 
tion, in the support of the honour and dignity of his Majesty's crown, 
and in the preservation and advancement of the welfare and prosperity 
of the whole British empire. 

Resolved unanimously, That Lord Viscount Donoughmore, the sincere 
and attached friend of the Catholics of Ireland, be requested to commu- 
nicate these our sentiments most respectfully to his Excellency the Lord 

Resolved unanimously, That the thanks of this meeting be given to 
Thomas Sherlock, Esq., for his public and spirited exertions in promot- 
ing this our declaration, and that he be requested to hand it to Lord 
Viscount Donoughmore. 

My Lord, — I am directed by .ny Lord Lieutenant to request your 
Lordship will have the goodness to express to the Roman Catholics of 
Waterford the satisfaction his Excellency feels from their declaration of 
the 28th of June, which they desired your Lordship to lay before him, 
and which is so respectably signed. 

The measure of a Legislative Union, upon just and liberal principles, 
between this kingdom and Great Britain, is near his Excellency's heart; 
he is convinced that nothing will so effectually tend to bury the religious 
animosities in oblivion which have unhappily prevailed in this kingdom 
— to conciliate the affections of all his Majesty's subjects to the mild 
government under which they live — to increase the happiness and pros- 
perity of Ireland — and to augment the power and stability of the British 

My Lord, — Having had this day the honour to receive from your 
Lordship, and to lay before my Lord Lieutenant, the unanimous address 
of the Roman Catholic inhabitants of the towns of Tipperary, Cahir, 
and their vicinities, I am commanded by his Excellency to express to 
them, through your Lordship, the pleasure he derives from the strong 
expressions of loyalty to his Majesty therein mentioned. 

(Signed by order) 

Peter St. Leger, Chairman. 
Dublin Castle, July 16, 1799. 



injudiciously attempted a proceeding that termi- 
nated in a manner very different from that which 
he expected, and which served but to entail dis- 
grace upon the country and discredit upon the 
family to which he belonged. It subjected him 
personally to severe mortification, and exposed 
for a series of years to discomfiture and to defeat 
the party he had espoused, and thereby sought to 
elevate. Perhaps lie secretly hoped to conduct 
and manage the Catholic cause, but in this he 
was mistaken, and was destined to meet with 
bitter disappointment. Session after session he 
experienced repeated discouragement ; even his 
friend, the more intimate friend of his brother the 
General (the Prince Regent), deceived and aban- 
doned him. At length the noble lord, irritated 
by resentment, was said to have assisted in pre- 
paring the celebrated witchery resolutions, as they 
were called, in which allusion was made to the 
private friendships and morals of the Prince. 
These were adopted by the Catholics, and in that 
quarter ruined their cause. The advice was 
injudicious, the mode of proceeding unfair, the 
error unpardonable, and the step irretrievable. 
The Prince never forgave the Hutchinsons or the 
Catholics ; to the last he opposed their claims,* 
and he accompanied the act of Emancipation, 

His Excellency enjoins me to add, that the primary aim of his ad- 
ministration is to consolidate the strength and resources of this kingdom 
with those of Great Britain, and by an irrevocable bond of amity and 
affection to fix the connection upon one solid and indissoluble basis. 
Persuaded that these essential objects can only be effected by a Legisla- 
tive Union in which the interests, the property, and happiness of the 
whole empire are materially involved, your Lordship will have the 
goodness to convey to the respectable Roman Catholic inhabitants of 
the town of Tipperary, Cahir, and their vicinities, the gratification their 
unanimous declaration in favour of this measure has afforded him. 

I have the honour to be, &c, 


Lord Viscount Donoughmore. 

* Sir. Robert Peel's statement, in Parliament, of his interview with 
King George IV. 


when it was extorted from him, by a declaration, 
that as far as lay in his power he would not fulfil 
its provisions.* Lord Donoughmore died before 
1829, and was destined to behold only the ter- 
giversation of his friend, but not the emancipation 
of his countrymen. Both he and his brother 
deeply regretted their conduct at the Union. f 

Let the examples that history thus affords be 
an everlasting lesson to all men, whether gifted 
with great cunning or extreme ambition, never to 
desert the cause of their country, or deviate from 
the honest straightforward path of public duty. 
In politics there is an hereafter upon earth as well 
as in heaven, and it will shortly appear in the 
case of Isaac Corry. 

The policy of the Government and the efforts 
of their supporters was to foment fresh divisions, 
and increase those that already existed among 
the various parties that composed the Irish com- 
munity ; nor were those arts practised upon the 
Catholics only, the Orangemen were also applied 
to, and the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland was 
induced to issue a circular to their brethren 
stating the determination not to discuss the ques- 
tion of Union, and recommending the same course 
to all other lodges. This was clone at the sug- 
gestion, it was said, of Mr. Beresford and Mr. 
Verner, the principal leaders of that body. The 
result was, that many of the lodges and the 
Orangemen throughout the country remained 
silent, and though sworn and bound by their 
oaths to uphold the constitution, they beheld in 
silence its violation. They were ready, indeed, 
to fight for a toast, but not for an object. The 
Grand Lodge of the county of Antrim made a 

* The Memoirs of Lord Eldon, — the king's expressions, 
f Lord Hutchinson used to say, " Grattan, I ought to be d— d for 
my conduct at the Union ! \" 



similar declaration ; they declined to enter into 
the question, and advised their brethren to adopt 
the same course. Notwithstanding this, thirty- 
two Orange Lodges, in Down and Antrim alone, 
agreed to resolutions disapproving of these in- 
structions, and declaring their right to discuss 
the question of Union. Many of these bodies 
assembled in various parts of Ireland in the 
months of February and March, 1800, and 
though late in the field they acted in a manner 
highly creditable, and adopted numerous reso- 
lutions full of spirit and nationality; among them 
were the following : — 

Lodge, No. 989. — We declare, in our opinion, the pro- 
posed measure of an incorporate Union is destructive of 
our rights, liberties, trade, and commerce. We will per- 
severe, legally, in opposing so destructive a proposition. 

Lodge, No. 596. — Replete with affection to the people 
of England, we desire a union with their dispositions, 
manners, and dangers; but fraught with patriotic feelings 
similar to theirs, we do not choose to <>ive up, nor will we 
relinquish, the kingdom which gave us birth, or the con- 
stitution under which we have so eminently thriven. 
That if, by force or sublety, we should be compelled to 
their destruction, we can never forget the violence or 
forgive the violators. 

Lodge, No. 986. — We are of opinion that a Legislative 
Union with Great Britain is a measure subversive of our 
happy constitution as established in 1782, and destructive 
to the trade and prosperity of Ireland. 

Lodge, No. 641. — Impressed with unshaken loyalty to 
our Sovereign, and attachment to our present constitution, 
as established in 1782, we feel ourselves called on to 
declare our sentiments on that destructive measure of a 
Legislative Union, as tending to cause a separation of the 
two kingdoms. 

Lodge, No. 538. — As we have sworn to defend the 
present constitution as by law established, we will to the 
utmost of our power, by all constitutional means, as 
Orangemen, as freeholders, and as Irishmen, resist a 
Legislative Union, as being subversive of that constitution. 




Lodge, No. 497. — That we are of opinion that a Legis- 
lative Union between Great Britain and Ireland is a mea- 
sure fraught with evil, destructive of our dearest rights, 
and subversive of the constitution which we hold ourselves 
bound to maintain, and hereby reassert our firm deter- 
mination so to do. 

Lodge, No. 651. — That we see with unspeakable sorrow 
an attempt made to deprive us of our constitution, our 
trade, our rising prosperity, and our exertions as a nation, 
and reducing us to the degrading situation of a colony to 

The spirit of these resolutions did not extend, 
nor did these bodies manifest themselves in any- 
other mode, or assume a bearing more bold and 
decided ; the petty squabbles with their fellow- 
countrymen seemed to have disabled them from 
making a grand and national effort. The jea- 
lousies that subsisted between them and the 
Catholics could not be laid aside on the moment, 
and the differences between the members of their 
own body increased their difficulties and their 
supineness. Discord thus was sown among them, 
and the object of Government was accomplished, 
dividing the Orangemen as they had divided the 

Another step taken had reference to the 
Catholic clergy, as the former and successful one 
had reference to the laity. The Catholics were 
tampered with, — a bribe was held out to them, — 
a provision from the Government was offered to 
their clergy. Though this proposition came from 
the Ministers, it does not appear that they gave 
any direct pledge, or made any positive promise 
as to the Catholic question ; but Mr. Pitt cer- 
tainly led the people of Ireland to believe that, 
after the Union, the measure would be granted. 
In the transactions of private life it would be so 
considered ; and in after times, when Lord Cas- 



tlereagh, in the House of Commons, alluded to 
that period, he added — 

I do not mean to say that many of the Roman Catholics 
did not form, and naturally form, sanguine hopes that 
further political indulgences would follow the Union, 
founding such expectation on several of the speeches 
delivered in Parliament at the time, and on the general 
language held. 

He further said — 

That he would be a base and ungrateful man if he were 
not readily to acknowledge that the Catholics had mate- 
rially assisted in accomplishing the measure. 

The laity had only been called on to sell their 
country, but the Catholic clergy were called 
upon, not merely to sell their country, but sacrifice 
their church, and a veto from the Crown on the 
appointment of their bishops was to be the equi- 
valent for pay and pension. In an evil hour they 
consented, and gave up the Parliament and the 
veto when a stipend was offered. In January, 
1799, the Roman Catholic prelates* met to con- 

* The resolutions of the Irish prelates were the following : — 
"At a meeting of the Roman Catholic prelates, held in Dublin on the 
17th, 18th, and 19th of January, 1790, to deliberate on a proposal from 
Government for an independent provision for the Roman Catholic clergy 
of Ireland, under certain regulations not incompatible with their doc- 
trines, discipline, or just influence — it was admitted : 

" That a provision through Government for the Roman Catholic clergy 
of this kingdom, competent and secured, ought to be thankfully ac- 

"That in the appointment of the prelates of the Roman Catholic 
religion to vacant sees within the kingdom, such interference of Govern- 
ment as may enable it to be satisfied of the loyalty of the person ap- 
pointed, is just, and ought to be agreed to. 

"That to give this principle its full operation without infringing the 
disciple of ihe Roman Catholic church, or diminishing the religious in- 
fluence which prelates of that church, ought justly to possess over their 
respective flocks, the following regulations seem necessary : — 

" 1st. In the vacancy of a see the clergy of the diocese to recommend, 
as usual, a candidate to the prelates of the ecclesiastical province, who 
elect him or any other they may think more worthy, by a majority of 
suffrages :— in the case of equality of suffrages, the presiding metropoli- 
tan to have a casting vote. 


sider the subject ; they agreed to the proposition, 
and ten Roman Catholic prelates, including the 
four Metropolitan Bishops, signed the declaration 
in its favour; but, fortunately for the country, 
this unholy bargain was not completed, and the 
Roman Catholic church remained free from the 
intrigues of the Government and the intermed- 
dling of the Court. 

There can be no doubt that the Catholics were 
intentionally and basely deceived, and that Lord 
Cornwallis was the direct participator in the 
fraud appears from the following facts, which are 

" The candidates so elected to be presented by the president (the 
chairman) of the election to government, which, within one month after 
such presentation, will transmit the name of the said candidate, if no 
objection be made against him, for appointment to the holy see, or return 
the said name to the president of the election for such transmission as 
may be agreed upon. 

" If government have any proper objections against such candidates, the 
president of the election will be informed thereof within one month after 
presentation, who, in that case, will convene the electors to the election of 
another candidate. 

"Agreeably to the discipline of the Roman Catholic church, these 
regulations can have no effect without the sanction of the Holy See, 
which sanction the Roman Catholic prelates of this kingdom shall, as 
soon as may be, use their endeavours to procure. 

" The prelates are satisfied that the nomination of the parish priests, 
with a certificate of their having taken the oath of allegiance, be certified 
to government. 


1. Richard O'Reilly, R.C.A.B., Armagh. 

2. J. J. Troy, R.C.A.B., Dublin. 

3. Edward Dillon, R.C.A.B., Tuam, 

4. Thomas Bray, R.C.A.B., Cashel. 

5. P. J. Plunkett, R.C.B., Meath. 

6. F. Moylan, R.C.B., Cork. 

7. Daniel Delany, R.C.B., Kildare. 

8. Edmund French, R.C.B., Elphin. 

9. James Caulfield, R.C.B., Ferns. 
10. John Cruise, R.C.B., Ardagh. 

" Dublin, 28th January, 1799. 

"The prelates, assembled to deliberate on a proposal from Govern- 
ment of a provision for the clergy, have agreed that M. R. (Most Rev.) 
Dr. O'Reilly, M. R. Dr. Troy, R. R. (Right Rev.) Dr. Plunkett, and 
such other of the prelates who may be in town, be commissioned to 
transact all business with Government relative to the said proposal, 
under the substance of the regulations agreed on and subscribed by 



here given as they were narrated by one of the 
parties concerned in the transaction, and who 
was desirous that they should be known. Mr. 
Robert Johnson voted for the Union and was 
created judge; he favoured the Catholics, and 
thought they had been deceived at the Union. 
Under these impressions he stated to the Author, 
in 1816, the following occurrence : — That he was 
one of twenty-five members in the Lower House 
who had agreed that they would oppose the 
Union if they found that the Roman Catholics 
were hostile to it, and that they would vote for 
the measure if the Roman Catholics were friendly 
to it ; that, as the Catholics constituted the 
majority of the population, their wishes on a sub- 
ject in which they were so deeply interested 
would guide them, and that their numbers 
(twenty-five) were certain to turn the scale on 
a division. Lord Cornwallis sent for Johnson, 
and he went to the Castle, accompanied by some 
of the twenty-five, and Lord Cornwallis declared 
that they were mistaken in their opinion as to 
the Catholic resistance ; that " tkey were betrayed 
by the Catholics," (such were the words) for that 
the Catholics would not hold out in opposition 
to the measure. The party took the assurance of 
the Lord Lieutenant, they believed his statement, 
and thus ( said Johnson) we were dissolved. 

The effect of these artful proceedings was 
quickly visible in the distrust and division that 
arose among the people, who had ever looked up 
to their priesthood with reverence and affection, 
but who now were led to view them with sus- 
picion. In after times the enemies of the Catho- 
lics reviled and taunted both their clergy and 
laity for having given the measure their support ; 
but if the matter be calmly considered it could 
not be expected that they would be very ardent 



in defence of a body from whom and by whom 
they were excluded ; the spirit of the people had 
been broken down by the Rebellion, and its 
events were fresh in their memory, and they 
could not so soon forget the conduct of the Par- 
liament, therefore to abandon it was natural but 
not noble. Thus were the Irish entrapped and 
deceived, and the political juggle successfully 
played off upon all parties, Protestants, Orange- 
men, and Catholics, laymen and clergymen; the 
Minister led to the deception, and if he did not in 
express terms deceive them, he allowed them to 
deceive themselves. Justice, however, demands 
that their case should be fairly stated, and it 
must be admitted to the credit of the Catholics 
that the great mass was adverse to the measure, 
and though not as active in their opposition as 
they ought, yet, under all the circumstances of 
their situation, they cannot be said to have de- 
serted the cause of the country ; they were 
placed in a most extraordinary and difficult posi- 
tion, to stand up for a Parliament that refused 
their emancipation, and oppose a Parliament that 
seemed to promise it. The lash over their head, 
the bayonet at their breast ; terror on the one 
hand, temptation on the other; truth and virtue 
scarce anywhere to be found. Great bodies have 
not always prudence, still less philosophy, and 
not always patriotism. 

Their chiefs held a meeting in Dublin in January, 
1800, which has become remarkable in conse- 
quence of the first appearance of an individual 
whose name has acquired such celebrity, and who 
has since taken so fearless and uncompromising a 
part on behalf of the liberties of Ireland — Daniel 
O'Connell. This was the commencement of his 
public life, and his first speech deserves to be no- 
ticed ; in the journals of the day it is thus given : — 


Counsellor O'Connell rose, and, in a short speech, pre- 
faced the Resolutions. He said that the question of Union 
was confessedly one of the first importance and magnitude. 
Sunk indeed in more than criminal apathy must that Irish- 
man be, who could feel indifference on the subject. It 
was a measure to the consideration of which we were 
called by every illumination of the understanding, and every 
feeling of the heart. There was therefore no necessity to 
apologise for the introducing the discussion of the question 
amongst Irishmen. But before he brought forward any 
Resolution, he craved permission to make a few observa- 
tions on the causes which produced the necessity of meet- 
ing as Catholics — as a separate and distinct body. In 
doing so, he thought he could clearly show that they were 
justifiable in at length deviating from a resolution which 
they had heretofore formed. The enlightened mind of the 
Catholics had taught them the impolicy, the illiberality, 
and the injustice of separating themselves on any occasion 
from the rest of the People of Ireland — the Catholics had 
therefore resolved — and they had wiselv resolved — never 
more to appear before the public as a distinct and separate 
body — but they did not — they could not then foresee the 
unfortunately existing circumstances of this moment. They 
could not then foresee that they would be reduced to the 
necessity either of submitting to the disgraceful imputation 
of approving of a measure as detestable to them, as it was 
ruinous -to their country — or once again — and he trusted 
for the last time — of coming forward as a distinct body. 

There was no man present but was acquainted with the 
industry with which it was circulated that the Catholics 
were favourable to the Union : — in vain did multitudes of 
that body in different capacities express their disapproba- 
tion of the measure; in vain did they concur with others 
of their fellow-subjects in expressing their abhorrence of 
it — as freemen or freeholders — electors of counties or in- 
habitants of cities — still the calumny was repeated ; it was 
printed in journal after journal ; it was published in pam- 
phlet after pamphlet; it was circulated with activity in 
private companies ; it was boldly and loudly proclaimed in 
public assemblies. — How this clamour was raised, and how 
it was supported, was manifest — the motives of it were ap- 

In vain had the Catholics individually endeavoured to 
resist the torrent. — Their future efforts as individuals would 

62 mr. o'connell's first speech, [chap. II. 

be equally vain and fruitless— they must then oppose it 

There was another reason why they should come for- 
ward as a distinct class, a reason which he confessed had 
made the greatest impression upon his feelings; not con- 
tent with falsely asserting that the Catholics favoured the 
extinction of Ireland, this their supposed inclination was 
attributed to the foulest motives — motives which were 
most repugnant to their judgments, and most abhorrent to 
their hearts ; it was said that the Catholics were ready to 
sell their country for a price, or what was still more de- 
praved, to abandon it on account of the unfortunate ani- 
mosities which the wretched temper of the times had pro- 
duced — can they remain silent under so horrible a 
calumny ? This calumny was flung on the whole body — 
it was incumbent on the whole body to come forward and 
contradict it ; yes, they will show every friend of Ireland 
that the Catholics are incapable of selling their country ; 
they will loudly declare, that if their emancipation was 
offered for their consent to the measure, even were eman- 
cipation after the Union a benefit, they would reject it 
with prompt indignation. (This sentiment met with appro- 
bation.) Let us, (said he,) show to Ireland that we have 
nothing in view but her good, nothing in our hearts but 
the desire of mutual forgiveness, mutual toleration, and 
mutual affection ; in fine, let every man who feels with 
me proclaim, that if the alternative were offered him of 
Union, or the re-enactment of the penal code in all its 
pristine horrors, that he would prefer without hesitation 
the latter as the lesser and more sufferable evil ; that he 
would rather confide in the justice of his brethren the 
Protestants of Ireland, who have already liberated him, 
than lay his country at the feet of foreigners. (This senti- 
ment met with much and marked approbation.) With regard 
to the Union, so much had been said — so much had been 
written on the subject, that it was impossible that any 
man should not before now have formed an opinion on it. 
He would not trespass on their attention in repeating argu- 
ments which they had already heard, and topics which 
they had already considered. But if there was any man 
present who could be so far mentally degraded as to con- 
sent to the extinction of the liberty, the constitution, and 
even the name of Ireland, he would call on him not to 
leave the direction and management of his commerce and 


property to strangers over whom he could have no con- 

He then concluded by moving the resolutions. 

Even in these last moments of their national 
existence, attempts were made to prevent the 
meeting of the Catholics, and the military here 
interfered with a view to intimidate them ; but 
Lord Cornwallis was applied to, and it was per- 
mitted to proceed. Such was the state of suf- 
ferance to which the people were reduced, and 
under which they were allowed, but only for a few 
moments longer, to hold the lingering remnant of 
their expiring liberties. The resolutions deserve 
to be remembered : — 

Resolved, That we are of opinion that the proposed 
incorporate Union of the Legislature of Great Britain and 
Ireland is in fact an extinction of the liberty of this coun- 
try, which would be reduced to the abject condition of a 
province surrendered to the mercy of the Minister and 
Legislature of another country ; to be bound by their 
absolute will, and taxed at their pleasure, by laws in the 
making of which this country would have no efficient 
participation whatsoever. 

Resolved, That we are of opinion that the improve- 
ment of Ireland for the last twenty years, so rapid beyond 
example, is to be ascribed wholly to the independency of 
our Legislature, so gloriously asserted in the year 1782, 
by the virtue of our Parliament co-operating with the 
generous recommendation of our most gracious and bene- 
volent Sovereign, and backed by the spirit of our people, 
and so solemnly ratified by both kingdoms as the only 
true and permanent foundation of Irish prosperity and 
British connection. 

Resolved, That we are of opinion, that if the inde- 
pendency should ever be surrendered, we must as rapidly 
relapse into our former depression and misery ; and that 
Ireland must inevitably lose with her liberty all that she 
has acquired in wealth, industry, and civilization. 

Resolved, That we are firmly convinced that the sup- 
posed advantages of such a surrender are unreal and 
delusive, and can never arise in fact ; and that, even if 


they should arise, they would be only the bounty of the 
master to the slave, held by his courtesy, and resumable 
at his pleasure. 

Resolved, That having heretofore determined not to 
come forward any more in the distinct character of Catho- 
lics, but as involved in the general fate of our country, 
that we now think it right, notwithstanding such determi- 
nations, to publish the present resolutions, in order to 
undeceive our fellow-subjects who may have been led to 
believe, by a false representation, that we are capable of 
giving any concurrence whatsoever to so foul and fatal a 
project ; to assure them that we are incapable of sacrificing 
our common country to either pique or pretension; and 
that we are of opinion that this deadly attack upon the 
nation is the great call of nature, of country, and posterity, 
of Irishmen of all descriptions and persuasions, to every 
constitutional and legal means of resistance; and that we 
sacredly pledge ourselves to persevere in obedience to that 
call as long as we have life. 

Signed by order, 

James Ryan. 

Dublin, January, 1300. 



Mr. Grattan's difficulty of getting a seat in Parliament. — Conduct of 
opposition. — Peter Burrowes's plan to appeal to yeomanry. — Sheri- 
dan's words on the Union. — Arthur Wellesley's (Duke of Welling- 
ton) opinion on Union. — Mr. Foster's difficulty as to the Catholics. 
— Letter from Lord Downshire and Charlemont. — Three plans for 
opposing the Union ; purchasing seats ; writing pamphlets ; personal 
conduct. — Mr. Grattan elected for the town of Wicklow. — Going to 
the House. — Parting with Mrs. Grattan. — Her spirited words. — Sir 
Laurence Pardon's amendment. — Speeches of Plunket, Fitzgerald, 
Moore, Ponsonby,and Bushe. — Mr. Grattan's entrance into the House. 
— Sensation produced. — His appearance and conduct. — Speaks. — 
Corry attacks him. — Arbitrary conduct of Government. — Post troops 
at the Houses of Parliament. — Meetings of the people stopped by the 
military. — Major Rogers threatens to blow the Court House about the 
ears of the freeholders in the King's County, 5th Feb. — Mr. Grattan's 
speech against Union. — Attacked a second time by Corry. — Govern- 
ment press on the question. — No regard paid to the Committee on 
Trade and Manufactures. — House in Committee. — Mr. Corry attacks 
Mr. Grattan. — His reply.' — They leave the House. — Corry 's character 
and conduct.— Corry 's friendship. — His verses on Mr. Grattan. — 
Account of the duel by Mr. Grattan. — Sheriff held by General 
Cradock till the parties fought. 

At this time it was a matter of considerable 
difficulty to procure a seat in Parliament. The 
Government had refused to grant the formal and 
usual facilities to such members as were desirous 
of retiring, being constantly on the watch to pre- 
vent the return of an anti-union member, as in 
the case of Col. Cole, before spoken of. 

The introduction, therefore, of Mr. Grattan into 
Parliament was not easy to be effected, though 
very eagerly sought for by some of his friends 
who were most inveterate in their opposition to 
the Union, and who perhaps thought he would be 

vol. v. F 



able to resist it with success, and give new spirit 
to the opposition. But it was too late ; times had 
greatly altered since Mr. Grattan had left Parlia- 
ment (in 1797). Parties, too, had assumed a 
different character; many favouring the Govern- 
ment in general, though opposed to them on this 
particular subject ; Orangemen and Anti-Catho- 
lics seated by the side of Reformers and Emanci- 
pators ; John Claudius Beresford and Mr. Foster 
acting with Mr. Ponsonby and Mr. Plunket. 

This ill-assorted mixture required a skilful and 
plastic hand to mould together into a solid and 
united body, so as to call forth an effectual 
national resistance to the measure ; but there was 
no one influential enough for the task. Lord 
Charlemont was gone.* His successor was young, 
and though well disposed and firm in his oppo- 
sition, had not the benefit of experience. Mr. 
Ponsonby retained the habit of the law courts — 
not even those of the forum ; and lacked those 
commanding qualities to form a centre round 
which a nation could rally. And above all, Mr. 
Foster, though sincere and zealous in his opposi- 
tion, was not liked by the people, nor trusted by 
the Catholics. He had been long their opponent ; 
and the measure of Union being artfully repre- 
sented as likely to prove favourable to their 
claims, had made some doubt his sincerity, others 
surprised at his opposition ; but that he was sin- 
cere cannot be disputed. At the same time he 
was informed by the Government, that if the 
measure passed he was to be provided for by one 
of the best situations in England. 

Various were the plans proposed to counteract 
and defeat the Minister. 

Mr. Peter Burrowes suggested a measure that 

* He died in August, 1799, regretted by all, and by no one more 
than by Mr. Grattan. 


might have proved successful, but he did not press 
it as much as it should have been, nor as much as 
he desired. At one of the meetings of the Anti- 
Union party, he proposed that an appeal should 
be made to the yeomanry ; that they should call 
on them by virtue of their oath, in which they 
had sworn that they would uphold the King, 
Lords, and Commons of Ireland, and by which 
consequently they were bound to oppose such a 
measure as the Union. He urged the members 
of the Opposition to avail themselves of this oath, 
and circulate their appeal from the Lawyers' 
Corps to every corps in the kingdom. This 
would have given the proceeding a legal character 
and sanction, and have tended to make it more 
solemn and obligatory, coming with the recom- 
mendation of a grave and legal body. However, 
Mr. Saurin, Mr. Foster, and others, were opposed 
to it, and induced Mr. Burrowes to abandon the 
measure. He always considered this to have 
been a fatal decision, and regretted that he had 
not been allowed to press his resolution and carry 
it, which he seemed fully convinced he could 
have done. Government appeared to have appre- 
hended that such a step might be taken, and 
signified their disapprobation of some corps that 
had expressed their opinion on the subject of the 
Union. Several years after this Mr. Burrowes 
was in company with Mr. Marsden, who had been 
Under Secretary at the period of the Union, and 
he mentioned these circumstances to him, and 
asked his opinion as to the probable result, and 
what the Government would have done if the Op- 
position had taken any strong measure of that sort. 
Marsden thought that they would have yielded, 
and would not have pressed the Union ; that Lord 
Cornwallis and the Government were afraid lest 
the people would rise in arms ; that they had just 
f 2 


put down one insurrection which had been very 
near succeeding, and they dreaded another ; and 
he added, that this was Lord Cornwallis's feeling. 

It is possible that Lord Cornwallis might have 
yielded. He was friendly to the Catholics, and 
was a liberal man ; but he was a soldier — a class 
not over fond of public liberty, nor accustomed to 
favour deliberative assemblies ; but the more likely 
on that account to concede to a military summons 
such as Burr owes proposed. 

Such are the chances upon which the success 
or failure of the greatest events depend. It is 
possible, that if two or three courtiers had been 
killed the Union might have been prevented. 
Lord Ely and Lord Clare would have been intimi- 
dated, and Mr. Pitt might have been frightened. 
A very little thing would probably have stopped 
the measure. However, these were not the olden 
times, as in Rome, when a patriot drew his sword 
and killed a magistrate ; then brandishing it, ap- 
pealed to the people that he had slain a traitor ! 

Unquestionably Lord Clare and Lord Castle- 
reagh deserved to die. The popular execution of 
such State criminals would have been a national 
as well as a noble judicial sentence. 

Some weak old women might have cried out 
" murder !" but it would have been the deed of a 
Brutus ; and in the eyes of posterity the people 
would have been justified, for the Union was a 
great and legitimate cause for resistance. Sheri- 
dan, in a conversation he had with Mr. Grattan 
on the subject, exclaimed, 66 For the Irish Parlia- 
ment 1 would have fought England — aye, I would 
have fought up to my knees in blood T 

There can be no doubt, that when the Parlia- 
ment voted the Act of Union, the people had a 
right to march into the House and declare it had 
forfeited its trust ;* but the reason they did not do 

* See Vattel; Burlemachi, Grotius, Locke on Self-Government ; &c. 



so was, that the country was not accustomed to 
consider itself free — it doubted whether it pos- 
sessed the power. Judging, too, from their former 
conduct, it is probable that the army would have 
been let loose on the people ; for the Government 
were desperate, and they had an old general at 
its head. Even Arthur Wcllesley (Duke of Wel- 
lington), at that time in India, had written to his 
friends in Ireland, and said, " There must be no 
more debating societies in Ireland ! * The feeling 
was very strong against the Parliament. But the 
great misfortune of the crisis was to be found in 
the situation of the leaders of the Opposition. 
Lord Charlemont had expired ; Mr. Grattan had 
been long absent, was not in Parliament, and still 
remained in very feeble health ; Mr. Foster was 
neither liberal nor popular, and was considered 
by the Catholics as hostile in the extreme. It 
was not possible to oppose such a measure as the 
Union without calling in aid all the people. Mr. 
Burrowes had proposed that the chief Catholics 
should meet the leaders of the Parliamentary 
Opposition, and that both should act in concert. 
He applied to the principal men, Messrs. Sweet- 
man, Byrne, Teeling, and others. They were 
willing to join, as they were all against the Union, 
and would have acted with energy if the Opposi- 
tion party had assented ; but Foster and others 
refused to join them, and the negotiation broke 
off. In fact, Foster was the clog that impeded 
the movements of the Opposition. He subse- 
quently saw his error, and in a conversation with 
Mr. Plunket he said, " If the crisis demanded it, he 
would even go the length of calling in the aid of the 
Catholics!" But the die was cast; it was too 
late ; his penitence was in vain. Thus do preju- 

* Letter to the Rev. William Elliot, rector of Trim, to ^hom he was 
greatly indebted for his election for that borough. 



dice and bigotry possess a certain suicidal quality, 
which makes them finally become the victims of 
their own egregious folly. Foster's intolerance 
lost the warm heart and the bold active co-opera- 
tion of the Catholic party ; and to a conceited and 
interested religious theory he sacrificed the Con- 
stitution of his country. 

An appeal was, however, made to the people ; 
and a letter was issued from the Opposition 
leaders, and circulated through the country : — 

Dublin, January 20th, 1800. 
Sir,— A number of gentlemen of both Houses of Par- 
liament, of whom thirty-eight represent counties, have 
authorized us to acquaint you, that it is their opinion that 
petitions to Parliament declaring the real sense of the free- 
holders of the kingdom on the subject of a Legislative 
Union, would at this time be highly expedient; and if 
such a proceeding shall have your approbation, we are to 
request you will use your influence to have such a petition 
from your county without delay. — We have the honour 
to be, Sir, your most obedient, humble servants, 


w. b. ponsonby. 

Simple as this proceeding was, it drew from 
Lord Clare a torrent of invective, and he levelled 
against the individuals who signed the letter, one 
of his usual intemperate phillipics, couched in 
terms of exceeding rancour and virulence, but 
showing, however, a sense of danger, and the fear 
that Government entertained from that quarter, 
if the people (as they ought to have done) had 
risen in arms to oppose the measure. 

One of the plans adopted and acted on by the 
opposition, was to bring into Parliament members 
to vote against the Union ; it amounted in fact to 
a project to outbuy the minister, which in itself 
was unwise, injudicious, and almost impracti- 
cable, and in which they were sure to be far 
behind the Government ; a second plan was their 



literary war ; this, as far as it went, was good, but 
it came too late, and was too feeble a weapon at 
such a crisis ; the third plan was to meet the 
Castle club, and fight them with their own wea- 
pons ; this would have proved the most effective 
and deadly of the three plans, but it was hazard- 
ous, — and in principle it could scarcely be sanc- 
tioned, and was acted on but in one instance 
(that of Mr. Grattan and Mr. Corry), and the 
meeting at Charlemont House* rejected it. To 
carry into effect the first of these measures, a 
subscription was opened ; the names set down 
were numerous, and the sums considerable : in a 
short time 100,000/. was subscribed. Lord Down- 
shire put down his name for 1000/., W. B. Pon- 
sonby, 500/., George Ponsonby, 500/., and many 
others for sums equally large ; but the application 
of these sums was difficult, and the process was 
troublesome and tedious. Mr. Thomas Whaley 
had in 1799 voted for the Union ; he paid 4000/. 
for his election for the town of Enniscorthy ; he 
was not in affluent circumstances, but well in- 
clined to oppose the Union, and Mr. Goold ac- 
cordingly agreed that these expenses would be 
paid if he would vote against the Government. 
He did so, and when the division took place on 
the question in 1800, Mr. Cooke, the acting man 
for Lord Castlereagh in the traffic of members, 
perceived him staying in the House, and said, 
u You are mistaken — the ayes go out'' Mr. Whaley 
replied, " Yes, but I vote against the Union" 
Cooke was surprised, but suspected the cause ; 
and the next day he went to him, and offered him 
(to use his expression) " a carte blanehe ;" but Mr. 
Whaley would not break the promise he had made 
to the opposition : the funds, however, were soon 
exhausted, and a member who would have opposed 
the Union was lost in consequence, and voted for 

* Sir Jonah Harrington's Memoirs of the Union, vol. ii. 



[chap. nr. 

it. The payment of the 4000/., that was the sum 
stipulated in Mr. Whaley's case, was not easily 
procured. Mr. Thomas Goold had, highly to his 
honour, out of his own funds advanced the money, 
and an execution was served on his house ; being 
unable to answer this sudden demand, Mr. Goold 
applied to the party, and George Ponsonby (who 
in such cases was not only generous but noble) 
immediately gave him an order on the bank (as 
he stated) 6 6 for a splendid sum'' Lord Lismore 
gave 500/., Denis Bowes Daly gave 500/., and in 
this manner Goold was reimbursed. This single 
instance shows the difficulty the ante-union party 
had to encounter, and how unlikely it was they 
could have succeeded by following such a plan. 

Their next measure — the literary proceedings — 
consisted in getting together a number of men to 
write against the Union ; however, this could 
avail but little; the time was too short; public 
opinion was at too low an ebb, and literature 
not widely enough circulated. The essays that 
appeared were undoubtedly good, and may have 
produced some effect : various were the styles 
that were used ; among them satire proved the 
best. The party patronized the " Constitution" 
paper, and set up the "Anti-Union." It was in 
the latter that they chiefly wrote, and in the 
former that their speeches were chiefly pub- 
lished. Mr. Peter Burrowes, Mr. Plunket, Mr. 
Bushe, Mr. Wallace, Mr. Goold, and Mr. 
Smiley, were the chief contributors to the " Anti- 
Union." Mr. Thomas Wallace had been just 
called to the bar — an active, talented, and rising 
young man, fond of books, and likely to be of 
use. To him Mr. Burrowes applied, and with- 
out previous acquaintance, proposed that he 
should join the Society : he did so, and wrote 
extremely well. Mr. Plunket was said to be the 



author of the article entitled " Shecla"* Mr. 
Charles Bushe wrote the one entitled the 
"Hacks." Several were from the pen of Mr. 
Burrowes ; amongst them, that which considered 
the probable effect that the Union would have 
upon the representation of England, was written 
by him ; it is headed " Quinctiam mortua jungebant 
corpora vivis" — it is an able and powerful pro- 
duction : all this, however, was a very feeble 
instrument to wield against a Government that 
was corrupt in the extreme, and against an army 
that was all powerful. As to the pamphlets, they 
teemed forth without number: among the best 
were those written by Charles Bushe, )" Thomas 
Goold,;]: William I)rennan,§ and Mr. TaafTe : || in 
one month upwards of thirty pamphlets appeared 
on this subject. Doctor Drennan was a Presby- 
terian, full of talent and of spirit ; his mind was 
patriotic and erudite. He wrote some beautiful 
poems, and many prose and political works. " The 
Letters of Orcllana" Addresses to the Volunteers, 
and his Essays on Home Education, are remark- 
able. He died in February 1820. 

Had the third plan been acted on, the Govern- * 
ment might have rued the consequences, but 
could not have complained, as it would merely 
have been following out the principle laid down 
by the Castle. A meeting of the friends of the 
Government had been convened, and the persons 
who were to support the several articles of Union 
were brought forward. Several members spoke 
on the occasion, and amongst them was Mr. St. 
George Daly : he was one of the boldest, par- 
ticularly active, and quite decided. He declared 

* Second vol. Dublin Magazine for 1799 and 1800. 
-f- " Cease your funning, or the rebel detected," an excellent piece of 
satire, was attributed to Mr. Bushe. 
% Aristarchus to the people of Ireland. 
§ Letters to Pitt. 
|| Taafte was a Tianciscan friar. 



(these were his words) "that his line had been taken* 
and that each of them must select their man ; and that 
he had chosen his antagonist already" It was said 
they had singled out their men ; — that Lord Cas- 
tlereagh should attack George Ponsonby ; Corry, 
Mr. Grattan ; Daly, Mr. Plunket ; Toler, Mr. 
Bushe ; and Martin, Mr. Goold. These indi- 
viduals had been set on by the Castle, and en- 
couraged to fight, and they did very well what 
they were paid for. St. George Daly gave battle 
at once ; he was brave, but corrupt. Toler, the 
Attorney- General, was always ready ; he was a 
blusterer and a villain, but always brave : Corry, 
too, was stout, but was put up to what he did. 
Henry Deane Grady was talkative, and some- 
what bold. Martin showed courage, and seemed 
ready for fighting, and would have been consi- 
dered fond of it were it not that he talked too 
much on the subject. Lord Castlereagh was 
rather cold to be a warrior, and, according to the 
language used by his friends, was said " to have a 
soft hole in him" They were bold in the aggre- 
gate, and were better bullies by far than the op- 
' position. 

After the meeting of the Castle (the pistolling) 
Club (such is the name it deserves), a meeting of 
the opposition members was held at Lord Char- 
lemont's to consider what should be done ; a 
similar mode to the Castle plan was proposed, but 
objected to, and after discussion, was rejected. 
Sir Jonah Barrington, in his history, alludes to 
it, and intimates that neither he nor Mr. Grattan 
were very averse to the proposition. 

The true course of the opposition (whose per- 
sons were thus assailed by assassins, while their 
Constitution and liberty was menaced by corrup- 
tion, intrigue, and violence), was to have met the 

* This was related to the author by one of the persons who heard the 
expressions used. 


attack by war. They should have kept their 
ground in the senate, lest it might be used 
against them ; but their councils should have been 
military : their speeches should have yielded to 
adjutant-generals' reports, — and leaving the pis- 
tol to bullies, they should have stood in hand at 
the head of the people, and have rescued their 
country. But, unfortunately, when the Insur- 
rection was put down, the country was put down, 
and honest men, and men of spirit even, were 
afraid to move. 

To mingle in the fatal broils, and to make a 
stand in this deadly contest, was now the fate of 
Mr. Grattan ; and he was scarce equal to the 
task : he had come over late from England, and 
did not know the feelings of the people, or of 
parties. A year's absence had made great 
changes. He had escaped from the plots of his 
enemies by singular good fortune, though he could 
not escape from their calumnies ; these he dis- 
regarded, for his conscience was clear, and his 
conduct above reproach ; the only concern he 
felt was for his country, and to serve her appeared 
to him almost impossible. At the close of 1799 
he returned from the Isle of Wight, and retired 
to Tinnehinch, almost broken-hearted, — not only 
hopeless, but helpless; enfeebled in body, and 
depressed in spirits, but in mind still unsubdued. 
Immediately on his arrival, a deputation from his 
friends waited on him to request that he would 
re-enter Parliament ; but he was obliged to de- 
cline the offer in consequence of the state of his 
health. Soon after they informed him that a seat 
was vacant, Mr. Gahan, one of the members for 
the town of Wicklow having died, and Mr. Wil- 
liam Tighe, the patron of the borough, would not 
be averse that he should be returned for it. Mr. 
Arthur Moore, a most zealous and sincere friend 
of Mr. Grattan, was very anxious on the occasion, 


and pressed him strongly to comply : he knew 
that it was difficult to procure a seat, and exerted 
himself, in the most anxious and affectionate man- 
ner, to secure it for him, the more so as some of 
his own party were desirous of obtaining it for 
another person. Mr. Moore at length succeeded, 
and arranged that Mr. Grattan should be put in 
nomination. Mrs. Grattan's account of the cir- 
cumstance, as nearly as can be recollected, was as 
follows : " Mr. Grattan's health did not permit 
him, and his sentiments did not incline him, to 
get into Parliament : he said that he would be no 
party in any way to the act of Union ; that the 
representatives had no right to part with the 
legislative body, and that it was an act of suicide. 
I urged him most earnestly to take the seat ; that 
he should not refuse ; that it was his duty to go 
into Parliament; that he had got a great deal from 
the people ; that they had given him a large sum 
of money in '82 for standing by them in time of 
need, and that it was his duty to do so now ; and 
that he ought to spend his money, and shed his 
blood in their defence ! (noble words — splendid 
sentiment). At length Mr. Moore and I pre- 
vailed. Mr. Grattan yielded, and we brought 
him to Dublin. Being unable to bear any noise, 
we avoided hotels, and went to a friend's house 
(Mr. Austen's) in Bagot Street. There he re- 
mained till the election should be over, as the 
party were very anxious that he should be present 
at the meeting of Parliament, which was to open 
on the 15th. Mr. Henry Tighe managed the 
business very dexterously : he was a person of 
spirit, hostile to the Union, — and proved himself 
to be zealous and useful. When he found that 
his brother had accepted 1,200/. for the seat, he 
was indignant, and said that he should have been 
too happy to have given Mr. Grattan the seat, in 
order to oppose such a measure. The Sheriff 


being friendly, he allowed the election to be held 
after 12 o'clock on the night of the 15th. Mr. 
Tighe got the officer to sign the return, and set 
ofY immediately, on horseback, with it. He ar- 
rived in Dublin about five in the morning, when 
we heard a loud knocking at the door. Mr. Grat- 
tan had been very ill, and was then in bed, and 
turning round he exclaimed, ' Oh, here they come ; 
why icill they not let me die in peace V The ques- 
tion of Union had become dreadful to him ; he 
could not bear the idea, or listen to the subject, 
or speak on it with any degree of patience ; he 
grew quite wild, and it almost drove him frantic. 
I shall never forget the scene that followed. I 
told him he must get up immediately, and go 
down to the House : so we got him out of bed, and 
dressed him. I helped him down stairs ; then he 
went into the parlour and loaded his pistols, and I 
saw him put them in his pocket, for he appre- 
hended he might be attacked by the Union party, 
and assassinated. We wrapped a blanket round 
him, and put him in a sedan chair, and when he 
left the door I stood there, uncertain whether I 
should ever see him again. Afterwards, Mr. 
M'Can came to me and said that I need not be 
alarmed, as Mr. Grattan's friends had determined 
to come forward in case he was attacked, and if 
necessary take his place in the event of any per- 
sonal quarrel. When I heard that, I thanked 
him for his kindness, but told him 'My husband 
cannot die better than in defence of his country.' " 

Genuine offspring of patriotism and of virtue, 
worthy of the race of the Gerald ines ! — honour to 
the possessor of that lofty mind, those elevated 
feelings, that sober consciousness of right, that 
just ardour in an honourable cause; uniting the 
love of country to the love of virtue, and the dig- 
nity of one sex to the softness of the other. Such 
are the divine qualities that adorn human kind — 



ennoble our nature, and make life immortal. Tf 
spirits like these had found imitators, or magic 
words such as these met an echo through the 
land, Ireland would still have been a nation, — 
she would have preserved her Constitution, and 
her children their character. 

On the 15th of January, 1800, the Irish Par- 
liament met for the last session. According to 
Dr. Lucas, and the charter of Henry II., legis- 
lative assemblies had been summoned in Ireland 
since the eleventh century, but seldom had been 
suffered to exist in an independent state : they 
had attracted the jealousy of their more powerful 
rival, and now became victims to her overweening 
ambition, and their own unhappy divisions. In 
order to procure the return of new members, not 
less than twenty-five writs were moved for on the 
first day of the session — such being the success 
of ministers in their efforts to model the House of 
Commons. In the speech from the throne, Lord 
Cornwallis did not allude to the Union, but it was 
well known that the subject would be renewed, 
and pressed with all the energy that Government 
possessed. Sir Laurence Parsons therefore, after 
a strong speech against the measure, moved an 
amendment to the address. 

To assure his Majesty that his Majesty's kingdom of 
Ireland is inseparably united with Great Britain, and that 
the sentiments, wishes, and real interests of all his subjects 
are, that it should continue so united in the enjoyment of a 
free Constitution, in support of the honour and dignity of 
his Majesty's crown, and in the advancement of the wel- 
fare of the whole empire, — which blessings we owe to the 
spirited exertions of an independent resident Parliament, 
the paternal kindness of his Majesty, and the liberality of 
the British Parliament in 1782, and which we feel our- 
selves at all times, and particularly at the present moment, 
bound in duty to maintain. 

Lord Castiereagh opposed this amendment ; 



said the question had been withdrawn last year 
because the people did not understand it, but 
now, he believed, a great majority did ; that it 
should be submitted to the cool and dispassionate 
consideration of Parliament ; that nineteen coun- 
ties had come forward and petitioned in its favour. 
This is one of the first strides in the oratory of 
the noble lord, for which he made himself so 
conspicuous afterwards in the Imperial Parlia- 
ment. Unmeaning phrases, broad and startling as- 
sertions (next morning discovered to be false), 
and interminable sentences. The real meaning 
of this speech was, that Government had la- 
vished their bribes, and used their influence, 
rather authority, with such success, that by craft, 
force, and fraud, and even forgery,* they had got 
a number of signatures to petitions from various 
individuals, which they unjustly represented as 
expressing the sense of the several counties, the 
entire amount of which did not exceed 7000. 

Mr. (afterwards Lord) Plunket reprobated the 
conduct of Government in the strongest manner, 
and delivered a most eloquent and argumentative 
speech. He said that — 

" During the whole interval between the sessions, the 
most barefaced system of parliamentary corruption has 
been pursued — dismissals, promotions, threats, promises : 
in despite of all this, the minister feared he could not suc- 
ceed in parliament, and he affected to appeal to what he 
had before despised, — the sentiment of the people. When 
he was confident of a majority, the people were to be heard 
only through the constitutional medium of their representa- 
tives : when he was driven out of parliament, the sense of 
the people became everything. Bribes were promised to 
the Catholic clergy ; bribes were promised to the Presby- 
terian clergy : I trust they have been generally spurned 
with the contempt they merited. The noble lord under- 

* Numbers of forged signatures were affixed to the petitions in favour 
of the Union ; persons of the lower class ; paupers, bankrupts, and 
beggars. — See Dublin Evening Post Newspaper. 



derstands but badly the genius of the religion in which he 
was educated. You held out hopes to the Catholic body, 
which were never intended to be gratified, regardless of the 
disappointment, and indignation, and eventual rebellion 
which you might kindle, — regardless of everything, pro- 
vided the present paltry little object were obtained. In 
the same breath you held out professions to the Protestant, 
equally delusive ; and having thus prepared the way, the 
representative of Majesty set out on his mission, to court 
his Sovereign, the Majesty of the People. It is painful to 
dwell on that disgraceful exhibition, — no place too obscure 
to be visited- — no rank too low to be courted—no threat too 
vile to be refrained from — the counties not sought to be 
legally convened by their sheriffs — no attempt to collect 
the unbiassed suffrage of the intelligent and independent 
part of the community — public addresses sought for from 
petty villages, and private signatures smuggled from public 
counties ; and how procured ? By the influence of absentee 
landlords; not over the affections, but over the terrors of 
their tenantry, — by griping agents and revenue officers. 
And after all this mummery had been exhausted — after the 
lustre of royalty had been tarnished by this vulgar inter- 
course with the lowest of the rabble — after every spot had 
been selected where a paltry address could be procured, and 
every place avoided where a manly sentiment could be en- 
countered — after abusing the names of the dead, and 
forging the signatures of the living — after polling the in- 
habitant of the gaol, and calling out against the parliament 
the suffrages of those who dare not come in to sign them 
until they had got their protections in their pocket — after 
employing the revenue officer to threaten the publican that 
he should be marked as a victim, and the agent to terrify 
the shivering tenant with the prospect of his turf-bog being 
withheld if he did not sign your addresses—after employing 
your military commanders, the uncontrolled arbiters of life 
and death, to hunt the rabble against the constituted 
authorities— after squeezing the lowest dregs of a popula- 
tion of near five millions, you obtained about five thousand 
signatures, three-fourths of whom affixed their names in 
surprise, terror, or total ignorance of the subject; and after 
all this canvass of the people, and after all this corruption 
wasted on the parliament, and after all your boasting that 
you must carry the measure by a triumphant majority, you 
do not dare to announce the subject in the speech from the 




throne. You talk of respect for our gracious Sovereign! I 
ask, what can be a more gross disrespect than this tamper- 
ing with the royal name, pledged to the English parliament 
to bring the measure before us at a proper opportunity — 
holding it out to us at the close of the last session, and not 
daring to hint it at the beginning of this? Is it not noto- 
rious why you do not bring forward the measure now? 
Because the fruits of your corruption have not yet blos- 
somed — because you did not dare to hazard a debate last 
session, in order to fill up the vacancies which the places 
bestowed by you, avowedly for this question, had occasioned 
— and because you have employed the interval in the same 
sordid traffic — and because you have a band of disinterested 
patriots waiting to come in and complete the enlightened 
majority who are to vote away the liberties of Ireland. 
Will you dare to act on a majority so obtained? Fatal 
will be your councils and disastrous your fate, if you re- 
solve to do so. You have adopted the extremes of the 
despot and the revolutionist — you have invoked the loyal 
people and parliament of Ireland, who were not calling on 
you — you have assayed every means to corrupt that parlia- 
ment, if you could, to sell their country — you have ex- 
hausted the whole patronage of the Crown in execution of 
that system — and to crown all, you openly avow, and it is 
notoriously a part of your plan, that the constitution of 
Ireland is to be purchased for a stipulated sum. I state a 
fact, for which, if untrue, I deserve serious reprehension; 
I state it as a fact, that you cannot dare to deny, that 
15,000/. apiece is to be given to certain individuals as the 
price for their surrendering — What ? Their property ? No ; 
but the rights of representation of the people of Ireland ; 
and you will then proceed in this, or in an imperial parlia- 
ment, to lay taxes on the wretched natives of this land to 
pay the purchase of their own slavery. It was in the last 
stage of vice and decrepitude that the Roman purple was 
set up for sale, and the sceptre of the world transferred for 
a stipulated price ; but even then the horde of slaves who 
were to be ruled would not have endured that their country 
itself should have been enslaved to another nation. Do 
not persuade yourselves that a young, gallant, hardy, en- 
thusiastic people like the Irish, are to be enslaved by means 
so vile, or will submit to injuries so palpable and galling. 
From those acts of despotism you plunge into the phrenzy 
of revolution, at a time when that political madness has 

VOL. V. 


82 mr. Fitzgerald's speech, [chap. hi. 

desolated the face of the world, when all establishment is 
staggering under the drunkenness of theory in this country, 
which, it is said, has been peculiarly visited by this pesti- 
lence — when even the projects which the noble lord may 
recollect to have been entertained by the Northern Whig 
Club have been necessarily suspended, if not abandoned — 
when you have found it necessary to enact temporary laws, 
taking away almost every one of the ordinary privileges of 
the subjects of a free constitution — with the trial by jury 
superseded, and the whole country subject to martial law— 
a law by which the liberty and life of every man rests 
merely on the security of military discretion — a law which 
you have not yet ventured to repeal, and the necessity of 
whose continuance is strongly hinted in the speech from 
the Throne — with a bloody rebellion only extinguished, and 
a formidable invasion only escaped — you call on this dis- 
tracted country to uproot itself of its constitution ; and 
having been refused by the wisdom and virtue of parlia- 
ment, you desire the rabble of every description to array 
themselves against the constituted authorities, and to put 
down their parliament, because they would not put down 
the constitution. 

Mr. Fitzgerald (late Prime-Sergeant) — 

The genius, the ambition, and the aspiring thoughts of 
man are not to be controlled ; and little reason have we, 
dressed in a little brief and questioned authority, to expect 
that the increasing population of four millions of people 
will respect this compact, if entered into, as sacred. It 
will be handed down to them with the history of the pre- 
sent day, and the means taken to effect this mighty 
change ; they will be told that the country was called upon 
to the compact when martial law was in full force — they 
will hear of the years 1779 and 1782 — they will inquire 
how they lost the great acquisitions of those days, a free 
residing and superintending legislature — they will inquire 
by what means they lost the power of granting supplies, 
the true source of national independence and the great con- 
stitutional control of the executive power, whether resident 
or non-resident; and I much fear that, dazzled by the 
splendour, without the loyalty and moderation, of 1782, 
similar claims may be made, and Great Britain may not 
be found in a similar disposition to concede. The parlia- 
ment of Ireland is the best mediator between the Irish 



nation and the parliament of Great Britain. They did not, 
by a rash adoption of popular opinion, commit the two 
countries; their prudence interposed delay, and produced 
the constitution which I trust will last for ever. Preserve, 
then, your parliament as the hostage of the constitution. 
If the spirit of '82 should again arise, and Ireland should 
have no parliament to control Iter impatience, I tremble for 
the consequence, 

Mr. Arthur Moore — 

Sir, we may feel the respect that is shown to privileges 
in the use that is made of the inrluerrce of the Crown, and 
the unbounded patronage of Ministers to overthrow them, 
in the promises that are made, in the places that are given, 
in the honours and promotions that are lavished — if it can 
be called honour and promotion which is acquired by such 
means — in the removal from office of able and honourable 
men, and in the substitution of men whose sole merit is 
their zeal for this degrading measure : can these, and the 
other innumerable practices made use of to obtain a majority 
in favour of the Union, be called by any milder epithets 
than those of bribery and corruption ? But, sir, the means 
made use of to carry the Union are not confined to the 
parliament; the whole nation has been practised upon. 
How have the sheriffs been appointed ? How have grand 
juries been in many places selected ? How have addresses 
been procured ? By what means have some counties been 
deceived and others refused the liberty of expressing their 
opinions in a constitutional manner? What has been the 
use which has been made of the martial law bill ? Or will 
posterity, or even the contemporary people of Europe, be- 
lieve that Ireland has been called upon to surrender her 
constitution while such a law was in force and acted upon, — 
a law, the principle of which is better calculated to stifle 
opinions than to repress crimes, and to promote rather than 
to correct the depravity of the times. But, sir, it was seen 
that while the parliament and the nation continued of the 
same opinion, there could be no hope of accomplishing the 
measure. What was to be done, then? There was a 
factitious sense of the people to be set up against the real 
sense of their representatives ; and that parliament which, 
while it was supposed to be corrupt, was asserted to be 
omnipotent, as soon as it proved itself to be virtuous, was 
appealed from with a strong implication of its incompetence. 

G 2 



And to whom was the appeal made ? To every man who 
could be bribed, seduced, intimidated, or punished. In 
how many instances was there an open, fair appeal made 
to the free, unbiassed sentiments of any body of people 
recognised by the law and [constitution as having a right 
to assemble and declare their opinions upon public events? 
Well, the signatures, if not the sense of some thousands of 
people out of some millions, are procured in favour of the 
Union — with all the industry of Administration and its 
emissaries, they have been able to do no more — and how 
have the great majority of these been procured ? By 
threats and menacef^— by terror and false pretences — by 
forging of names — by spies, hirelings, and calumniators — - 
by dividing the people, setting the landlord against his 
tenant, the soldier against the citizen, the pastor against 
his flock, the parent against his child, sect against sect, 
and principle against principle — by the agency of the 
placeman and expectant — by the influence of the purse and 
the sword, of the civil magistrate and the military magis- 
trate — by promises never intended to be performed — and 
by promises which, if performed, would be the very perfec- 
tion of political criminality. In this way has an attempt 
been made to poll the people against the sense of their 
representatives. Upon the foundation of these signatures, 
I presume, it is that the noble lord says, that the nation is 
for the Union ; and upon such evidence is it that our most 
gracious Sovereign, and the English parliament and people, 
are induced to believe that the accomplishment of the 
measure is only retarded by a faction against the sense of 
the country. Would to God the whole British nation 
could have the testimony of their own eyes and ears, for 
the actual condition and sentiments of this country; they 
would see whether those who oppose, or those who support 
the Union, are the best friends to the constitution, the 
liberty, and the tranquillity even of their own country. 
Sir, there is one class of men who, I do not hesitate to say, 
have contributed even as much as Ministers to diffuse the 
fallacious opinion in England, that this country will be 
satisfied with a Union, — I mean the absentees; and acting 
upon that impression, we find their agents making the 
greatest efforts to obtain signatures in favour of it on their 
estates, and what have been the means in many instances 
practised on these estates ? To refuse leases to those who 
have none ; to threaten to call for the rent to the hour; to 



hold the terrors of an ejectment over him who hesitates to 
sign, or, if he cannot write, to lend his name to resolutions 
calling for the surrender of that which is the security of his 
property — of his liberty — of his life. Sir, I have no hesi- 
tation to say, that if they carry the measure under all the 
circumstances which I have stated and observed upon, it 
will be a robbery, and not a treaty — an act of constraint 
and violence, not of compact and volition — a conquest, not 
a Union. Union upon such principles, and accomplished 
by such means, policy never can require — justice never can 
sanctify — wisdom never can approve — patriotism never can 
reconcde — time never can cement — and force never can 
establish. It might be a Union for a few days — a few 
months; perhaps for a few years; but it would be followed 
with ages of ill-blood, generations of hostility, centuries of 
contest and desolation, and misery to this island to all 
eternity ; it would be a Union founded on the violation of 
public faith, erected on national degradation, equally sub- 
versive of the moral, physical, and political fitness of 
things, and equally odious and abominable in the sight of 
God and man. 

Mr. George Ponsonby delivered an eloquent 
and able speech in support of the amendment, and 
thus terminated : — 

If ever this House should consent to its own immola- 
tion — if ever the members of the Irish Commons should 
assent to an act for turning themselves out of doors — if 
this should ever happen, hope shall not quit me, until the 
last man shall have passed the door which the minister 
would close upon our liberties. When they shall approach 
that door, if they but cast a look behind, if they but view 
that chair where integrity now sits enthroned, if their 
eyes but linger on that floor where the flow of patriot 
eloquence has been poured forth for their country, if they 
but recollect all the struggles of honourable legislation 
which those walls have witnessed, they will stop before 
thev have taken the last irretrievable step; they will cling 
to this House, the temple of their honour, and they would 
tell the minister, " Sir, you have taken an unjust advan- 
tage of our confidence, to desire us to destroy our country ; 
you have taken a most ungenerous and unjust advantage 
of the state of that country to induce its Parliament to 



annihilate itself and the liberties of its constituents ; but 
we will show you that you have been mistaken in the cal- 
culation of our baseness ; we will show you that we repre- 
sent an honest, brave, and generous people, and are 
worthy to represent them ; we will not flatter, but we will 
serve them, and establish an eternal claim to their grati- 
tude, and to the gratitude of posterity." This, sir, 1 will 
suppose to be the influence of feeling, and the triumph of 
nature and of honour, should the negotiated sale of our 
liberties proceed to the last extremity, and until I shall see 
the last man out of these doors, and they shut upon him 
for ever, I will not believe that those who have lived with 
such honour, will die with such disgrace. 

Mr. Charles Bushe, who for ten years after- 
wards was Solicitor-General, and twenty years 
Chief Justice, distinguished himself on this occa- 
sion : — 

I strip this formidable measure of all its pretensions 
and all its aggravations ; I look on it nakedly and ab- 
stractedly, and I see nothing in it but one question — will 
you give up the country ? I forget for a moment the 
unprincipled means by which it has been promoted — I 
pass by for a moment the unseasonable time at which it 
has been introduced, and the contempt of Parliament 
upon which it is bottomed, and I look upon it, simply, as 
England reclaiming in a moment of your weakness, that 
dominion which you extorted from her in a moment of 
your virtue — a dominion which she uniformly abused, 
which invariably oppressed and impoverished you, and 
from the cessation of which you date all your prosperity. 
It is a measure which goes to degrade the country, by 
saying it is unfit to govern itselfj and to stultify the 
Parliament by saying it is incapable of governing the 
country. It is the revival of that odious and absurd title 
of conquest ; it is the renewal of the abominable distinction 
between mother-country and colony which lost America ; 
it is the denial of the rights of nature to a great nation 
from an intolerance of its prosperity . # * * 

You are called upon to give up your independence — and 
to whom are you called upon to give it up? To a nation 
which for six hundred years has treated you with uniform 
oppression and injustice. The treasury bench startles at 
the assertion — non me us hie sermo est. If the treasury 



bench scold me, Mr. Pitt will scold them — it is his asser- 
tion in so many words in his speech. Ireland, says he, has 
been always treated with injustice and illiberality. Ire- 
land, says Junius, has been uniformly plundered and 
oppressed. This is not the slander of Junius, nor the 
candour of Mr. Pitt — it is history. For centuries has the 
British Parliament and nation kept you down, shackled 
your commerce and -paralysed your exertions, ucspised your 
characters, and ridiculed your pretensions to any jjrivileges, 
commercial or constitutional. She has never conceded a 
point to you which she could avoid, nor granted a favour 
which was not reluctantly distilled, They have been all 
wrung from her like drops of blood ; and you are not in 
possession of a single blessing (except those which you 
derived from God) that has not been either purchased or 
extorted by the virtue of your own Parliament from the 
illiberality of England. 

Is the interval from the year 1779 to the year 1782 
forgotten? How did you obtain your Mutiny Bill, your 
Octennial Bill, the repeal of Poyning's law, the inde- 
pendence of the judges, the restoration of your appellant 
jurisdiction, your free trade, and finally, your free consti- 
tution ? * * * * * 

Let me adjure the noble lord to weigh well and to con- 
sider deeply the probable permanency of a measure so 
conducted ; let me implore him to avail himself of the 
passing experience of his own days, and of the instructions 
which history may afford him ; and when he sees volcanic 
revolutions desolating the face of the political world, the 
first elementary principles of society loosening and dis- 
solving, and empires not built upon the liberties of the 
people crumbling into dust, let him contemplate the awful 
change he is about to accomplish, and consider the dread- 
ful responsibility he incurs to his Sovereign by exchanging 
the affections of a loyal nation for the reluctant obedience 
of a degraded and defrauded province ; let him look lor the 
permanency of this transaction something farther than to 
the vote of the night or the job of the morning, and let 
him have some better document than his army list for the 
affections of the people; let him consider whether pos- 
terity will validate this act, if they believe that the con- 
stitution of their ancestors was plundered by force or 
filched by artifice ; let him, before it be too late, seriously 
ponder whether posterity will validate this act, if they 


believe that the basest corruption and artifice were exerted 
to promote it, and that all the worst passions of the 
human heart were enlisted into the service, and all the 
most depraved ingenuity of the human intellect tortured to 
devise new contrivances of fraud. I do not say these 
things have been, I state hypothetically, and ask if pos- 
terity believe such things, will they validate the transac- 
tion ? if they believe that there was foul play from the first 
moment to the last both within doors and without, that 
the rabble were appealed to from the Parliament, and 
debauched or intimidated to petition against the constitu- 
tion of their country ; if they believe that in Parliament 
the disgust of the measure, notwithstanding a proscription 
which made office incompatible with honour, stained the 
treasury bench — that the disgust of the measure broke 
asunder and dissolved some of the tenderest and most 
delicate connections of human life — that the nominal office 
of Escheator of Munster became an office of honourable 
competition, and after the Parliament was thus reduced 
that the Irish Commons were recruited from the English 
staff; if they were to believe those things, and that human 
frailty and human necessities were so practised upon that 
the private sentiments and public conduct of several could 
not be reconciled, and that where the minister could 
influence twenty votes he could not command one hear 

I say not that these things are so; but I ask, if your 
posterity believe them to be so, will posterity validate 
this transaction, or will they feel themselves bound to do 
so ? I answer ; where a transaction, though fortified by 
sevenfold form, is radically fraudulent, that all the forms 
and solemnities of law are but so many badges of the 
fraud, and that posterity, like a great court of conscience, 
will pronounce its judgment. 

At seven o'clock in the morning Mr. Egan 
had risen to speak, when Mr. Grattan entered 
the House. He was so debilitated that he was 
scarcely able to walk, and was supported by 
W. B. Ponsonby and Mr. Arthur Moore. The 
scene tbat took place was interesting in the 
extreme, and highly characteristic of the indivi- 
dual ; novel to the House, and quite unexpected by 


the Ministers, who were not aware that the election 
had taken place, or that the writ could be returned 
so soon. They were much surprised at his en- 
trance, and more so at his appearance. The 
House and the galleries were seized with breathless 
emotion; and a thrilling sensation, a low mur- 
mur, pervaded the whole assembly, when they 
beheld a thin, weak, and emaciated figure, worn 
down by sickness of mind and body, scarcely 
able to sustain himself; the man who had been 
the founder of Ireland's independence in 1782 
was now coming forward, feeble, helpless, and 
apparently almost in his last moments, to defend 
or to fall with his country. 

His friends crowded round him, anxious to 
assist him, — Bowes Daly, in particular : seeing 
that Mr. Giattan had on his hat, he told him it 
was contrary to the rules of the House. Mr. 
Grattan calmly replied, "Do not mind me, I know 
what to do." He was dressed in the Volunteer 
uniform — blue, with red cuffs and collar. He had 
placed his cocked hat square to the front, and 
kept it on till he advanced half-way up the floor ; 
he then stopped and looked round the House with 
a steady and fearless eye, as if he wished to let 
them know that, though exhausted, he was yet 
prepared to give battle, and to bid them defiance ; 
as an old soldier, he was resolved to show front, 
and let his opponents see that he was not to be 
trifled with. He knew that he would be pressed, 
and very soon attacked ; and he thought it best to 
come forward at the outset. When he approached 
near the table, he then took off his hat ; and the 
oaths having been administered (for by the rules 
of the Irish Parliament they could be taken at any 
time), he took his seat on the second bench, be- 
side Mr. Plunket. 

After Mr. Egan had finished, he rose, but 



obtained leave to speak sitting; and to the asto- 
nishment of every one, he delivered an admirable 
speech for upwards of two hours, in which he 
went through the whole of the question. Mr. 
Corry replied, and commenced the meditated 
attack. He pressed Mr. Grattan severely, and 
alluded to his address to the citizens of Dublin in 
1797. Mr. Grattan strove to say a few words in 
explanation, but his weakness, as well as the rules 
of the House, prevented him going further. On 
a division, the numbers were — for the amend- 
ment, 96; against it, 138; being a majority of 
42* against Sir Lawrence Parsons. 

A few extracts from Mr. G rattan's speech may 
here be given : — 

The Minister sees-— I do not — British merchants and 
British capital sailing to the provinces of Connaught and 
Minister ; there they settle in great multitudes, themselves 
and families. He mentions not what descriptions of 
manufactures ; who from Birmingham, who from Man- 
chester. No matter ; he cares not ; he goes on asserting 
and asserting with great ease to himself, and without any 
obligation to fact. Imagination is the region he delights 
to disport ; where he is to take away your Parliament 
— where he is to take away your final Judicature — where 
he is to take away your money — where he is to increase 
your taxes — where he is to get an Irish tribute. There he 
is a plain direct matter-of-fact man ; but where he is to 
pay you for all this, there he is poetic and prophetic — no 
longer a financier, but an inspired accountant. Fancy 
gives him her wand. Amalthsea takes him by the hand; 
Ceres is in her train. # # # # 

What he cannot reconcile to your interest he affects to 
reconcile to your honour. He, the Minister, " his budget 
with corruption crammed/' proposes to you to give up the 
ancient inheritance of your country ; to proclaim an utter 
and blank incapacity, and to register this proclamation of 
incapacity in an act which inflicts on this ancient nation 

* The members for Clogher were unseated on petition, and Mr. King 
and Charles Ball, two anti-Unionists were returned, so that the real 
majority was but thirty-nine. 



an eternal disability ; and he accompanies these monstrous 
proposals by undisguised terror and unqualified bribery; 
and this he calls no attack on the honour and dignity of 
the kingdom ! . * * * 

The thing he proposes to buy is what cannot be sold — 
liberty ! For it, he has nothing to give. Everything of 
value which you possess you obtained under a free consti- 
tution. Part with it, and you must be not only a slave 
but an idiot. # * # # 

His propositions not only go to your dishonour, but 
they are built upon nothing else. He tells you it is his 
main argument, that you are unfit to exercise a free con- 
stitution ; and he affects to prove it by the experiment. 
"Jacobinism grows," says he, "out of the very state and 
condition of Ireland." 1 have heard of Parliament im- 
peaching Ministers, but here is a Minister impeaching 
Parliament. He does more : he impeaches the Parliamen- 
tary constitution itself. The abuses in that constitution 
he has protected ; it is only its being that he destroys. 
On what ground ? Your exports since your emancipation, 
and under that Parliamentary constitution, and in a great 
measure by that Parliamentary constitution, have nearly 
doubled. Commercially it has worked well. Your con- 
cord with England since the Emancipation, as far as it 
relates to Parliament, on the subject of war, has been 
not only approved, but has been productive. Imperially, 
therefore, it has worked well. What then does the 
Minister in fact object to? That you have supported 
him — that you have concurred in his system ; therefore he 
proposes to the people to abolish the Parliament, and to 
continue the Minister. He does more : he proposes to 
you to substitute the British Parliament in your place; 
to destroy the body that restored your liberties, and restore 
that body which destroyed them. Against such a propo- 
sition, were I expiring on the floor, 1 should beg to utter 
my last breath and record my dying testimony. 

The violent and arbitrary disposition of Go- 
vernment soon found an opportunity to gratify 
itself after the debate on the address. A trifling 
riot occurred in the streets, and some of the Union 
members were insulted on their return from the 
House. This was immediately seized upon as a 



ground for interfering. Mr. St. George Daly, the 
new Prime Sergeant, in order to qualify himself 
for the office from which Mr. Fitzgerald had been 
expelled, and to repay the Government for the 
services rendered to him, came prominently for- 
ward, inveighed against the people as guilty of 
the grossest outrage, and demanded that wit- 
nesses should be summoned to the bar to answer 
for their breach of privilege. This was acceded to ; 
and the House in a very summary manner sent to 
gaol a very respectable citizen, an officer in the Cus- 
toms, and a member of a Yeomanry Corps, under 
the charge of having committed a riot, though it 
was. deposed to in evidence that this individual 
had been struck, and had only retaliated on 
his assailant, and that the Town-major (Swan) 
had fired his pistol at him, and arrested him ;• 
thus the real sufferer was sent to Newgate, and 
the individual who fired was not even censured. 
The Government were not slow to act, and they 
quickly availed themselves of this occurrence for 
the purpose of introducing a military force ; and 
under the pretence of protecting the freedom of 
debate and the persons of the members, they took 
possession of a large wooden building at Foster 
Place, adjoining the House of Commons, which 
was used as an exhibition room ; this was con- 
verted into a temporary barrack, and a body of 
troops (an English regiment) was stationed there 
— in fact to overawe the Parliament — under pre- 
tence of protecting the members. 

Lord Castlereagh lost no time in following up 
his successes on the first day, and proposed a 
measure most efficient for his purpose, namely, 
to remove from the kingdom the Irish who bore 
arms; and accordingly he proposed, on the 21st 
of January, that 10,000 Volunteers from the Irish 
militia should be allowed to serve his Majesty 

Ctt.lP. III.] 



ia the army in Europe, at a bounty of six and ten 
guineas per man. This crafty plan was followed 
by another, namely, the substitution of English 
militia in their stead. Thus he removed the Irish, 
who might on an emergency have evinced some 
feeling for their country, and he introduced 
English troops, who could not but feel very 
differently, and at any critical moment would 
be sure to take part with the Government against 
the people. 

Shortly after this another event occurred which 
called forth a similar demonstration on the part of 
the Government, and showed how little respect 
they paid to the rights of the people, or to the 
privileges of Parliament, though a few days before 
they professed to be so eager to uphold them. 

On the 12th of February a complaint was made 
to the House of Commons, by Sir L. Parsons, 
that the High Sheriff of the King's County (Mr. 
Darby), and the officer in command of the British 
Artillery at Birr (Major Rogers), had interfered 
to intimidate and disperse a meeting of the free- 
holders of the county, who had assembled to peti- 
tion against the Union. Major Rogers was accord- 
ingly summoned and examined at the bar. He 
stated that he had his artillery and his troops ready, 
and that he only waited for one word from the 
Sheriff to blow the house where the freeholders 
were about their ears. The Sheriff also admitted 
that it was his intention to disperse the meeting. 
Notwithstanding these declarations, the House, 
under dictation from the Minister, resolved that 
such conduct was not intended to interfere with 
the right of petition ; and the parties were allowed 
to retire in triumph from the presence of the 
assembly, which they had thus derided and in- 

* The above appears so singular that the account is here given;— 


SIR l. parsons' motion, [chap. III. 

Major Rogers was afterwards appointed to a 
military situation, no doubt as a reward for his 
services ; in the same manner as the informer 
Reynolds was appointed to an office in the Pen- 
Sir L. Parsons called the attention of the house to a motion he had 
made on a former night, touching the proceedings adopted by the high 
sheriff of the King's County, and Major Rogers commanding the British 
artillery there, to intimidate the magistrates and freeholders from meet- 
ing at Birr, to petition Parliament against the adoption of the measure 
of a Legislative Union. He said, that he had already so fully expressed 
his sentiments on the fatal consequences that must result from such 
arbitrary proceedings being suffered to take place, that he should not at 
this time trespass on the attention of the house, but should merely move 
that these gentlemen do forthwith attend at the bar. He trusted that 
this business would meet with a cool and dispassionate investigation, it 
was one which involved the privilege of Parliament and the liberty of 
the subject. He said he had one or two witnesses to examine, and re- 
quested that Thomas Bernard, Esq., be called. 

Mr. Bernard, sen., a magistrate and freeholder of the King's County, 
being called, deposed, that the meeting at Birr was convened by magis- 
trates, the sheriff having refused to accede to the requisition of the free- 
holders. On the Sunday prior to the meeting, Major Rogers, of the 
Royal British Artillery, was at his (Mr. B.'s) house, and informed him 
no such meeting should take place, and if attempted he would disperse it by 
military force. Mr. B. told him he had better do nothing rashly — pro- 
duced a number of papers relative to a Legislative Union, and among 
them several copies of the requisition for calling the county, one of 
which he gave Major Rogers for the purpose of forwarding it to govern- 
ment — no other conversation took place between them previous to the 
meeting. On the morning of Sunday, before the meeting took place, he 
had a conversation with the sheriff, who told him that the meeting was 
not a legal one, and should not take place ; that the Session-House was 
his, and they had no right to meet there; Mr. B. answered, that the 
Session-House was the property of the magistrates, and that they had 
as good a right to meet there as he had. The innkeeper of the town 
also told him, that the sheriff-forbid him at Ids peril, to suffer the meeting 
at his house. The meeting took place at two o'clock ; the sheriff came 
to the Session-House, said he considered it an illegal meeting, that the 
house was his, and they had no right to remain there, and desired them 
to disperse ; some of the magistrates made answer that the house was 
theirs, the meeting was a legal one, and they would not be dispersed 
but at the point of the bayonet ; the sheriff replied, there sha'n't be any 
meeting, and so turned away ; as he returned, the crowd pressed a little 
upon him, and he desired them to make way. Mr. Malone, a magis- 
trate, told them to remain where they were, they had a right to do so. 
Mr. Bernard called out to them to give way to the sheriff, when he 
made answer, the sheriff can make way for himself, and so retired. 
Mr. Lloyd, the chairman, now read the petition, put the question on it, 
and it was unanimously adopted. A trifling difference of opinion after- 
wards prevailed, whether they should stay there to sign and await the 
soldiery, which they were assured were coming down to disperse them, 


insula, when the Duke of Wellington was in 
command there. 

On the 5th February, Lord Castlereagh delivered 
to the House a message from the Lord-Lieutenant 
recommending the Union. This was vigorously 
opposed by the opposition, and chiefly by Mr. 
Ponsonby, Mr. Grattan, Sir John Parnell, and 
Mr. Ogle, who declared that he was adverse to it 
because it confessedly led to Catholic Emancipa- 
tion and Reform. 

or adjourn to another place ; the latter opinion appeared most prevalent, 
and they retired to a public inn about sixty yards from the Session- 
House, where the petition lay on the table for signatures. 

Deponent Mr. B. was the second who signed, and went out for the 
purpose of making room for the other freeholders. lie walked towards 
the Session-House with M. Malone, and when he got a small distance 
from the public inn, he met Major Rogers riding at the head of four 
pieces of artillery with matches, whether lighted or net he could not tell, 
he was going towards the place where the meeting was. On one side 
of the street a number of artillery men marched with small arms and Jived 
bayonets, on the other a party of Scotch Fencibles in a similar manner. 
When at a small distance from Major Rogers, Mr. B. asked him, 
m Good God, what is all this V* " T is what you must always expect," 
said Major H., " while things do not go on tquare." 

At this time the troops had passed the Session-House, and were 
advancing towards the inn where the petition lay for signatures ; they 
proceeded to a small square in the town, where Major Rogers drew 
them up. On Major R.'s return, Mr. B. met him, and he informed 
Mr. B. that he only waited for the sheriff's order, to blow down the house 
to the foundation. The Tuesday after the meeting, Mr. B. met Major 
R., who said, "if he had received on Sunday, the letter which reached 
him on Monday, there would have been a pretty business ;" and added, 
"that it was very strange the gentlemen at the Castle or Park did not 
know that a letter would be three days going from Dublin to Birr." 

M. Bernard, on his cross-examination, declared, that he did not think 
the crowd assembled at Birr consisted of any others than freeholders of 
the county, to the best of his judgment; that his reasons for supposing 
Major Rogers's intention to disperse the meeting was, that he never saw 
him parade with cannon on a Sunday before, and his having told him 
previous to the meeting that he would disperse it by military force ; he 
could not suppose Major Rogers jested when he said he would blow 
down the house about the ears of the freeholders, either from his coun- 
tenance or tone of voice. The meeting was he said very numerous, but 
no appearance whatever of riot or disorder. lie could not, he said, 
suppose the soldiers were going to parade, as they did not usually 
parade at that hour. 

Mr. Lloyd, a magistrate of the King's County, chairman of the meet- 
ing, and many years representative of the county, gave very nearly the 
same testimony as Mr. B. 



Mr. Grattan thus ended his speech on this 
day :— 

It follows that the two nations are not identified, though 
the Irish Legislature be absorbed, and by that act of 
absorption the feelings of one of the nations is not iden- 
tified but alienated. The petitions on our table bespeak 
that alienation ; the Administration must by this time be 
acquainted with it ; they must know that Union is Irish 
alienation, and knowing that they must be convinced that 
they had the authority of the minister's argument against 
the minister's project, I am not surprised that this project 
of Union should alienate the Irish ; they consider it as a 
blow. Two honourable gentlemen, with an ardour which 
does them honour* — ingenuous young men — they have 
spoken with unsophisticated feeling, and the native honesty 
of good sense. The question is not such as occupied you 
of old, not old Poyning's, not peculation, not plunder, not 
an embargo, not a Catholic Bill, not a Reform Bill ; it is 
your being, it is more- — it is your life to come. Whether 
you will go, w 7 ith the Castle at your head, to the tomb of 
Charlemont and the Volunteers, and erase his epitaph, or 
whether your children shall go to your graves saying a 
venal military court attacked the liberties of the Irish, and 
here lie the bones of the honourable dead men who saved 
their country ! Such an epitaph is an epitaph which the 
King cannot give his slaves ; it is a glory which the 
crown cannot give the King. 

The speeches of Mr. Saurin and Mr. Ponsonby 
were said to have been excellent, particularly 
that of the former. The motion was supported 
by Mr. St. George Daly, who was supposed to 
have made, during the entire of these debates, 
the best speech of any in favour of the mea- 

Mr. Corry replied to Mr. Grattan, and attacked 
him again at a time when he had no opportunity 
of replying. The debate was conducted with 
great spirit, and lasted till twelve o'clock in the 
ensuing day, when the numbers were — 160 for 

* Mr, O'Donnell and Colonel Vereker, 


the proposition, and 117 against it, giving Go- 
vernment a majority of 43* in its favour, — thus 
only one was added to the majority on the first 
night of the session. On the 11th of February, a 
complaint was made to the House by Mr. (Sir 
Jonah) Barrington, that Sir Chas. Asgill, the 
officer commanding at Clonmel, had prevented 
the people from assembling to petition against 
the Union. His conduct was defended by the 
Attorney-General (Toler) by saying that the officer 
had considered it dangerous to let the people assemble 
in a proclaimed district, but the burgesses of the 
town could meet if they thought fit. The House 
declined to interfere, and permitted their privi- 
leges to be invaded, and the rights of the subject to 
be thus openly violated and superseded by military 

The course which the minister now took was to 
press forward the question with the utmost speed, 
and on the 14th he moved the order of the day to 
go into a committee on the subject. The opposi- 
tion in vain remonstrated, and proposed that on 
the part of the country more time should be 
allowed in order that the people might consider 
the question more deliberately, and that the House 
might examine the correctness of the statements 
submitted to them, and ascertain the calculations 
made by the Government respecting the trade 
and commerce of the country, and how far they 
would be affected by the proposed Union. This 
was refused, and Mr. W. B. Ponsonby then pro- 
posed an amendment, upon which the numbers 
were only 89 to 126 against it. Colonel Barry 
(Lord Farnham) moved that they should adjourn 
for a few days, and for this the ayes were 110 
and the noes 157. A committee was appointed 

* The real majority was but thirty-nine, as two anti-Unionists were 
seated on petition, and two Unionists were unseated. 
VOL. V. H 


to examine witnesses as to the trade and manu- 
factures of the country, Mr. Pirn, Mr. Orr, and 
several other merchants and manufacturers, gave 
very important evidence, and their opinion was, 
that the trade and manufactures of Ireland would 
sink under the Union. Mr. Orr stated, that prior 
to 1796 he had employed in his establishment 
upwards of 3,000 persons in working muslins and 
cottons, that he would not be able to employ so 
many in future, hence the trade would be greatly 
injured by the proposed measures, and that the 
manufacturers could not hold out against the 
competition with England.* Other evidence of a 
similar nature was given, when Lord Castlereagh, 
fearing that this would not be serviceable to his 
cause, declared himself averse to further delay, 
as conflicting evidence would be adduced, there- 
fore he sought to hasten the business. Mr. Wolfe 
(Lord Kilwarden) differed from him on this 
subject, much to his credit, as he was connected 
with the Government. However, it was useless ; 
Lord Castlereagh prevailed. 

On Friday the 17th of February, the articles of 
Union were considered. The House was in Com- 
mittee, and Mr. Foster (the Speaker) went at 
considerable length into the subject, and made a 
very able statement of the trade and revenue 
of the country. He spoke for upwards of two 

* This has been verified by the event ; Irish manufactures have been 
Completely swamped — and the trades in Dublin as well as in other 
parts of Ireland are reduced to nothing — where thousands and hundreds 
of persons were formerly employed, few, if any, are now at work ; this 
not only in Dublin, but in all the other towns where trade flourished ; 
leather trade, glass trade, linen trade, cotton trade, all fell victims to 
this measure. — See the Railway Report and Evidence. 

It is to be observed that in 1785, when the British manufacturers 
formed their committee in England, at the period of the Irish proposi- 
tions, that the evidence then given stated that if the Irish continued 
their exertions, they would rival the British, and meet them with success 
in the foreign market, as a remedy to which they asked for a Union— 
and the decay of Ireland followed. 


hours on these points, and showed the advantages 
Ireland had gained, and the great progress she had 
made since 1782, and gave it as his opinion that a 
Union would prove injurious to her. He made 
an earnest appeal to the House, and concluded 
by saying, " I declare from my soul, that if England 
ice re to give us all her revenues, I could not barter 
for them the free constitution of my country ." 

Mr, Corry had been selected to defend the first 
articles ; but he did not rest satisfied by merely 
discharging this duty. Unfortunately he owed 
another debt to the minister. His lot was to 
renew the personal attack upon Mr. Grattan, and 
for the third time he assailed him ; but on this 
occasion his opponent had the privilege to reply. 
Mr. Grattan came into the house as Mr. Corry 
was reading the address of 1797 to the citizens of 
Dublin, and commenting on it very severely. 
He took his seat by Foster, and, turning to him, 
exclaimed, " I see they wish to make an attack on 
my life, and the sooner the better T When Mr. 
Corry had ended, Mr. Grattan replied in a speech 
that astonished and electrified the House. Since 
his reply to Flood in '83, nothing of that charac- 
ter had been heard in Parliament. He was here 
on trial after an ordeal of two years, during 
which Government had attacked him with all the 
bitterness they possessed. Full of rancour and 
malignity, they had forged something in the shape 
of a report from the Secret Committee, which 
was a calumnious and notorious falsehood. Every 
species of abuse and calumny, vituperation, pro- 
scription, and persecution, had been unsparingly 
heaped upon him. He stood before his enemies, 
he confronted and bade them defiance ; but he 
confounded, and almost appalled them.* He stood 
in the hall of his ancient glories, and those of his 
country, amidst the dying embers of her freedom, 
h 2 



and strove to snatch from the sacred pile a brand 
that could light her to resurrection. 

iEstuat ingens 
Imo in corde pudor mistoque insania luctu 
Et furiis agitatus amor et conscia virtus. 

His answer was not confined to Mr. Corry. He 
arraigned the Government ; he told them they 
were in a conspiracy against the country ; that 
they were corrupt and seditious ; selling them- 
selves and selling the constitution ; that two par- 
ties had been in arms against her ; that he would 
join neither ; that the rebel who rose against the 
King deserved to die, but that he missed on the 
scaffold the right honourable gentleman. 

Mr. Bushe, who heard it, said he never wit- 
nessed such a scene. The minister was electri- 
fied. Never was such a castigation given to any 
party. Sir Robert Walpole's attack on the Ja- 
cobites comes nearer to it than any. When Mr. 
Grattan had ended, he left the house, and, pass- 
ing by where Mr. Plunket sat, took him by the 
hand, and pressed him with a strength that satis- 
fied him that all was right, and, as Mr. Plunket 
used afterwards to say, when alluding to those 
times, " That affair was more conducive to his 
health than the medicine of all his doctor's.'" The 
following was the substance of Mr. Grattan's 
reply :— 

Has the gentleman done ? Has he completely done ? 
He was unparliamentary from the beginning to the end of 
his speech. There was scarce a word he uttered that was 
not a violation of the privileges of the House ; but I did 
not call him to order — why ? because the limited talents 
of some men render it impossible for them to be severe 
without being unparliamentary. But before I sit down 
I shall show, him how to be severe and parliamentary 
at the same time. On any other occasion I should think 
myself justifiable in treating with silent contempt anything 
which might fall from that honourable member ; but there 



are times when the insignificance of the accuser is lost in 
the magnitude of the accusation. I know the difficulty 
the honourable gentleman laboured under when he at- 
tacked me, conscious that, on a comparative view of our 
characters, public and private, there is nothing he could 
say could injure me. The public would not believe the 
charge. I despise the falsehood. If such a charge were 
made by an honest man, I would answer it in the man- 
ner I shall do before I sit down. But I shall first reply to 
it, when not made by an honest man. 

The right honourable gentleman has called me " an 
unim peached traitor." I ask, why not traitor, unqualified 
by any epithet ? I will tell him — it was because he dare 
not. It was the act of a coward, who has raised his arm 
to strike, but has not courage to give the blow. I will not 
call him villain, because it would be unparliamentary, and 
he is a privy councillor. I will not call him fool, because 
he happens to be Chancellor of the Exchequer ; but I say 
he is one who has abused the privilege of Parliament and 
freedom of debate, to the uttering language which, if 
spoken out of the House, 1 should answer only with a 
blow. I care not how high his situation, how low his 
character, how contemptible his speech, whether a privy 
counsellor or a parasite, my answer would be — a blow. 
He has charged me with being connected with the rebels. 
The charge is utterly, totally, and meanly false. Does 
the honourable gentleman rely on the report of the House 
of Lords for the foundation of his assertion ? If he does, 
I can prove to the Committee there was a physical impos- 
sibility of that report being true ; but I scorn to answer 
any man for my conduct, whether he be a political cox- 
comb, or whether he brought himself into power by a 
false glare of courage or not. I scorn to answer any 
wizard of the Castle throwing himself into fantastic airs ; 
but if an honourable and independent man were to make a 
charge against me I would say, " You charge me with 
having an intercourse with rebels, and you found your 
charge upon what is said to have appeared before a Com- 
mittee of the Lords. Sir, the report of that Committee is 
totally and egregiously irregular."' I will read a letter 
from Mr. Xeilson, who had been examined before that 
Commitee. It states, that what that report represents 
him as having spoken is not what he said. [Mr. Grattan 
here read the letter from Mr. Neilson, denying that he 

102 MR. grattan's masterly [chap. III. 

had any connection with Mr. Grattan, as charged in the 
report, and concluding by saying, " Never was misrepre- 
sentation more vile than that put into my mouth by the 

From the situation I held, and from the connection 
I had in the city of Dublin, it was necessary for me 
to hold intercourse with various descriptions of persons 
The right honourable member might as well have been 
charged with a participation in the guilt of those traitors, 
for he had communicated with some of those very per- 
sons on the subject of Parliamentary Reform. The 
Irish Government, too, were in communication with some 
of them. 

The right honourable member has told me I deserted a 
profession where wealth and station were the reward of 
industry and talent. If I mistake not, that gentleman 
endeavoured to obtain those rewards by the same means, 
but he soon deserted the occupation of a barrister for those 
of a parasite and pander. He fled from the labour of 
study to flatter at the table of the great. He found the 
Lords' parlour a better sphere for his exertions than the 
hall of the four Courts, the house of a great man a more 
convenient way to power and to place, and that it was 
easier for a statesman of middling talents to sell his 
friends than a lawyer of no talents to sell his clients. 

For myself, whatever corporate or other bodies have 
said or done to me, I from the bottom of my heart forgive 
them. I feel I have done too much for my country to be 
vexed at them. I would rather that they should not feel 
or acknowledge what I have done for them and call me 
traitor, than have reason to say I sold them. I will always 
defend myself against the assassin ; but with large bodies 
it is different. To the people I will bow : they may be my 
enemy ; I never shall be theirs. 

At the emancipation of Ireland in 1782 I took a leading- 
part in the formation of that constitution, which is now 
endeavoured to be destroyed. Of that constitution I was 
the author; in that constitution I glory; and for it the 
honourable gentleman should bestow praise, not invent 
calumny. Notwithstanding my weak state of body, I 
come to give my last testimony against this Union, so fatal 
to the liberties and interest of my country. I come to 
make common cause with these honourable and virtuous 
gentlemen around me ; to try and save the constitution ; 



or, if not save the constitution, at least to save our charac- 
ters, and remove from our graves the foul disgrace of 
standing apart while a deadly blow is aimed at the inde- 
pendence of our country. 

The right honourable gentleman says I fled from the 
country after exciting rebellion, and that I have returned 
to raise another. No such thing. The charge is false. 
The civil war had not commenced when I left the king- 
dom, and I could not have returned without taking a part. 
On the one side there was the camp of the rebel, on the 
other the camp of the minister, a greater traitor than that 
rebel. The stronghold of the constitution was nowhere to 
be found. I agree that the rebel who rises against the 
Government should have suffered ; but I missed on the 
scaffold the right honourable gentleman. Two desperate 
parties were in arms against the constitution. The right 
honourable gentleman belonged to one of these parties and 
deserved death. I could not join the rebel — I could not 
join the Government — I could not join torture — I could 
not join half-hanging — I could not join free quarter — I 
could take part with neither. I was therefore absent from 
a scene where I could not be active without self-reproach, 
nor indifferent with safety. 

Many honourable gentlemen thought differently from 
me. I respect their opinions, but I keep my own ; and I 
think now, as I thought then, that the treason of the 
Minister against the liberties of the. people u-as infinitely 
worse than the rebellion of the people against the Minister. 

I have returned, not, as the right honourable member 
has said, to raise another storm ; I have returned to dis- 
charge an honourable debt of gratitude to my country that 
conferred a great reward for past services, which, I am 
proud to say, was not greater than my desert. I have 
returned to protect that constitution of which I was the 
parent and the founder from the assassination of such men 
as the right honourable gentleman and his unworthy asso- 
ciates. They are corrupt, they are seditious, and they, at 
this very moment, are in a conspiracy against their eoun-» 
try. I have returned to refute a libel, as false as it is 
malicious, given to the public under the appellation of a 
Report of the Committee of the Lords. Here I stand 
ready for impeachment or trial. I dare accusation. I 
defy the honourable gentleman. I defy the Government. 
I defy their whole phalanx ; let them come forth. I tell 


the Ministers I will neither give them quarter nor take it. 
I am here to lay the shattered remains of my constitution 
on the floor of this House in defence of the liberties of my 

Many persons were surprised that the Chair- 
man of the Committee did not interfere. It was 
thought that Mr. (Lord) Hutchinson would have 
called on him to do so, for after Mr. Grattan had 
concluded he got up and begged to call the atten- 
tion of the Chairman to the proceedings before 
the Committee ; but, instead of alluding to the 
altercation they had just witnessed, he at once 
diverged, and gravely observed that the question 
was divisible into three distinct heads, and that 
he would proceed calmly to analyze them ; in the 
mean time the parties left the House and thus 
escaped from arrest. Sir John Parnell now moved 
that the Chairman should leave the chair, and in 
this he was supported by Mr. Dawson, Mr. Egan, 
Mr. Peter Burrowes, George Ponsonby, and Mr. 
Goold, and opposed by Mr. Smith, Mr. Johnson, 
Mr. Francis Hutchinson, Dr. Browne, and Mr. 
Martin, who attacked Mr. Goold very severely ; 
on a division the numbers were — against the 
Government, 140 ; for them, 161. 

Some remarks may now be made upon the 
principal actor in this drama. — Mr. Isaac Corry, 
who had been so unworthily employed to take 
such a part on the occasion, was member for the 
borough of Newry ; he was unquestionably a man 
of talent, and not without just pretensions. In 
early life he began with the people, though he 
ended against them ; and, like most renegades,'* 
who never do things by halves, ran violently into 
the other extreme. He was bribed by the court, 

* Sir Francis Burdett is a deplorable instance. When he thought fit 
to change to Toryism, he was particularly hostile to the people and to / 
the Irish, whom he abused much more than he had ever praised them, j 



and his wants compelled him to sell the country. 
In early life he had been in habits of close 
acquaintance with Mr. Grattan, not merely as a 
friend but an admirer. He was first a guest at 
Tinnehinch, then a frequent visitor, at last an 
enthusiast, and in the complimentary verses* 
which he there wrote he has left a record of his 
esteem and his admiration. The course which he 
pursued affords a melancholy instance of the 
danger that follows from the corruption of a 
court. How fatally a generous spirit can be 
perverted by the arts of politicians ; seduced 
by the lures of office, and finally ruined by the 
enticements of a cunning cold-blooded Minister, 
who was not satisfied that his satellites should 
betray their country unless they put to death her 

Mr. Corry may have thought he had an excuse 
for selling Ireland because he possessed no stake 
in her ; he was a person of no property, over- 
placed and over-salaried. As a speaker he was 
short, pointed, and neat, and what he said he 
delivered with elegance and with address ; his 

* The following are the lines written by Mr. Corry in the parlour 
facing Sugar-Loaf Hill. 

Tinnehinch, 28th April, 1794. 
Behold that mountain tow'ring rugged high 
That culminating, daring, braves the sky, 
Planted on broad and solid rocky base, 
Impregnable in strength assumes its place, 
Look then upon the placid verdant green, 
That here adorns the calm domestic scene, 
Gay, soft, luxuriant, decked with every flower 
That can amuse the careless saunt'ring hour 
In these extremes, the genuine type you'll find, 
Of Grattan's tow'ring, Grattan's playful mind ; 
Behold that stream, now down the mountain side 
Roll in impetuous course its foaming tide, 
Soon as the placid vale it reaches here, 
In gentlest lapse, delight the eye, the ear, 
Thus sympathising Harriet, born to please, 
Shows Grattan's greatness, or adorns his ease; 
Live, happy pair, example bright to give, 
How genius, talents, reason, virtue live. 

Signed I. C. 



manner was graceful, and was better than his 
matter; his person was pleasing, and his voice 
clear and harmonious ; his invectives were good, 
and he possessed much spirit ; in personality he 
was better than in argument ; he was a brave 
man, but a bad reasoner ; and always ready to 
back what he said with his sword. 

In the Imperial Parliament Mr. Pitt continued 
him for some time in the office of Chancellor of 
the Exchequer for Ireland ; but in that assembly 
his style was altered, his tones lowered, and all his 
lofty periods and airs of office vanished ; he began 
cringing and creeping, with supple knee and 
submissive voice, " begging pardon of the House for 
taking up their time with Irish affairs" (these 
were his -words). When he was removed, Mr. 
Foster succeeded him ; and the conduct of the 
latter, compared to that of the former, was ex- 
cellent : Foster's was that of a country gentle- 
man — Corry's that of an upstart. The life and 
death of this individual is a great lesson to Irish- 
men. The ministers made him their tool, and 
left him their victim. They led him to take a 
bold, but a very bad part, and urged him on to 
deeds from which human nature should recoil. 
At first they found him an adventurer, — young 
and aspiring, then they exalted him ; afterwards 
they neglected him, and at last left him, to die 
unregarded, unnoticed, and almost unknown.* 

It cannot be doubted that the attack on Mr. 

* In 1810 lie was at Brighton, where Mr. Grattan resided ; he looked 
broken in spirits, quite downcast in looks and manner, and seemed to 
shun all observation ; he called on Mr. Grattan, and having been per- 
ceived approaching the house, no one would admit him. The ladies of 
the family, who were in spirit and principle purely Irish, were particu- 
larly hostile. Mr. Grattan insisted on going down stairs, he opened the 
door himself, and took Corry by the hand, the latter felt gratified and 
seemed greatly affected ; it was their last interview — he did not live 
long after it. Even this act of kindness crowned the cup of affliction to 
overflow — the wound he felt had gone through, his heart ! — and like other 
Unionists, Clare, Brown, Smith, Johnson, Hutchinson, Donoughmore, 
&c, he died bitterly regretting the part he had taken against his country. 

chap, in.] mr. Berwick's opinion. 


Grattan was premeditated and deliberate. Mr. 
Berwick, who had known Corry long before, met 
him at Harrowgate, in 1799, and found that he 
was then collecting all the materials he could get 
against him. Berwick, who was well acquainted 
with the politics of that period, attended the 
debates of the Union, heard Corry speak, and 
said that it was he who began the attack, and 
pressed Mr. Grattan from the outset ; the latter 
declined the contest, as they had been old friends ; 
but Corry renewed the attack on every occasion, 
so much so that Mr. Grattan could not avoid to 
reply, and in the committee he had the oppor- 
tunity. Berwick's opinion was, that he had been 
set on by the Government ; for they knew that if 
Mr. Grattan had been disposed of, the others 
would soon have given way : other persons, and 
good authorities, concurred in this opinion of Mr. 
Berwick. Dean Scott (nephew to Lord Clon- 
mell, Chief Justice), Mr. Francis Hardy, Mr. Jas. 
Jonas Corry, Clerk of Parliament, and personal 
friend of the Speaker, Mr. Ross M'Can (Secretary 
to the Whig Club), and Mr. H. Bushe, who held 
office under that Government, and who knew the 
actors in all the transactions of those times ; these, 
and many others, have repeatedly stated, that the 
plan of personal combat proceeded from the Go- 
vernment party, and had been arranged at the 

The account that Mr. Grattan gave of the trans- 
action was pretty nearly as follows : — 

On the first night that I took my seat Corry spoke, and 
alluded to me, though not in very severe terms, but still a 
denunciation of hostility. I said something in reply, but 
short, as by the rules of the House I was not allowed to 
do so at any length, and I was too ill. He attacked me 
afterwards in the Committee. I came into the House 
when he had my address to the citizens of Dublin in his 



hand, from which he read some passages, and commented 
upon them. After he sat down I replied, and was some- 
what severe. Corry then got up to answer me. His 
speech was a challenge ; it was not small artillery, but a 
twenty-four pounder. Then I got up, and had no mercy 
on him. I was very severe, and said the hardest things ; 
not coarse, nor departing from the language of a gentle- 
man, for I knew his character too well to be at a loss. 
After this I spoke in my defence, and told him that there 
was, in my opinion, a greater crime than that of high 
treason to the king — that was, treason to the country. 
There were traitors in the rebel camp ; there were traitors 
also in the Government, and both wanted to destroy the 
country. I could not join the one, — I would not join the 
other. There were men among the Government who sup- 
ported it, perhaps, from good motives ; but if any man out 
of this House said I was a traitor, I would answer him by a 
blow ! I told him I had heard before of the plan to sup- 
port the Union by personal combat. When I had finished 
I left the House. Bowes Daly said to me, " Go out of the 
House immediately, or something may occur toprevent you." 
I remained in the speaker's chamber, and about the House 
till daylight. James Blackwood (Lord Dufferin) offered to 
be my second ; but I had told Hutchinson (Lord Hutchin- 
son) to procure a second, and he got my friend Metge — a 
very good one, who brought my pistols to me, as I feared 
to go home: lest I should be arrested. General Craddock 
came with a challenge, but hoped for an accommodation. 
I replied, impossible. We went to Ball's bridge : on the 
ground the people cheered me. I had my pistol in one 
hand, and my hat in the other. The sheriffs approached.* 
We ran from thence, and when ordered we both fired. I 
hit Corry ; he missed me : we were then ordered to fire a 
second time, but at the signal we reserved our shots : the 
seconds then made us give our honour to fire ; we did so. 
I do not know whether Corry fired at me the second time. 

* General Craddock (Lord Howden), who was Mr. Corry's second, 
told Admiral Blackwood (a relation of Mrs. Grattan's) that when the 
sheriff came to the field he forced him into a ditch, where he was 
kept until the parties had fired, so bent were the Castle party on going 
through with the business. A few days after the duel, Mr. Grattan 
called on Corry and insisted on seeing him ; he got into his room where 
he was in bed, and a third person came in as Mr. Grattan was inquiring 
after his health; Corry said, "here is my brother Edward; Edward, 
here is Mr. Grattan, and he will shoot you whenever you deserve it." 



I fired above him. I did not take aim at him the first 
shot. I could have killed him if I chose, but I fired along 
the line. I had no enmity to him. I had gotten a victory, 
and knew it could not be more complete it" he was killed, 
and that it would if I did not fire at him. It was, how- 
ever, dangerous not to do so, for he might have killed me, 
but I thought it would be better to run the risk, and fire 
in the air. I then went up to him ; he was bleeding. He 
gave me his bloody hand : we had formerly been friends, 
but Corry was set on to do what he did : a plan had been 
formed to make personal attacks on the opposition, and 
their men had been singled out. I did not publish the 
attack I had made upon him, as it had been settled by a 
duel, but I sent my defence. 



Effect of the duel between Mr. Grattan and Mr. Corry on the suppor- 
ters of the Union. — Case of bribery, 5,000 guineas paid. — Some 
could not be bribed. — Mr. Hardy. — His character. — Rejects all 
offers. — Charles Kendal Bushe. — His character. — Rejects all offers 
from Lord Castlereaglv — Peter Burrowes incorruptible. — His cha- 
racter and conduct. — Speech of Mr. Saurin against the Union — His 
character and conduct. — Foster's speech. — His character and conduct. 
— Lord Cornwallis's letter to Lord Mornington. — Remarks upon it. — 
Mr. George Ponsonby's motion. — Impatience of Government. — In- 
troduce two bills. — Insurrection and Rebellion bills. — Invest the 
Army with great powers. — Government propose to buy the House of 
Commons, and pay 15,000/. for each borough abolished. — Letter on 
the subject to the Marquis of Donegal. — Expenses of the Union. — 
Mr. Plunket's celebrated attack on Government for their corrupt 
practices. — Character of Mr. Plunket. — Character of Mr. Ponsonby. 
— His motion to dissolve Parliament. — Sir John Parnell's speech. — 
Account of his family, the Poet and the Peer, — Remarkable words of 
Mr. Saurin and Sir Lawrence Parsons as to the Union. — Exchange of 
the militias of the two countries. — The Fitzgerald indemnity bill. — 
Proceedings of the House of Lords. — Speech of Lord Clare. — Attacks 
Mr. Grattan. — Publishes his Speech. — Mr. Grattan's celebrated an- 
swer, and brilliant description of the men of 1782. 

Such was pretty nearly the account of this trans- 
action, which is thus particularized in order that 
a just opinion may be formed of the conduct and 
character of a Government that would induce 
persons to act as Mr. Corry did. These were the 
men employed by Mr. Pitt and his sub-agents to 
do their state business, and carry their Union. 
Apart from private considerations, and influenced 
solely by national ones, is there any person who 
can refrain from saying that a more unscrupulous 
set of men scarcely ever disgraced the annals of 
any country, and that their names and misdeeds 



must descend to after ages with the execration of 
every honest and every virtuous mind. 

The contest that had nigh proved fatal to Mr. 
Corry, restrained in some degree the military 
ardour of the Unionists, and lowered their fiery 
tone ; the experiment appeared rather hazardous 
to the castle partisans, who though possessed 
of profligacy sufficient to undertake so desperate 
a venture as a Union, were, like most hirelings, 
desirous of enjoying in safety* the produce of their 
sale, and began to think they were only paid for 
the loss of character, but not of life ; enough for 
treason, not enough for murder. Some of them 
grew discontented and disheartened : among them 
was one well known to the author, but whose 
name, from motives of delicacy, he suppresses ; 
he was a sharp off-hand practising barrister, with 
great effrontery of mind and manner, a strength of 
lungs inexhaustible, a face that never blushed, 
some quickness, and considerable personal courage. 
Originally he had been adverse to the Union ; he 
was induced, however, to vote for it, and having 
done so, he went to the law courts and abused it 
among his brethren without measure, declaring 
that it would be most pernicious to the country, 
and that he would in future oppose it; this 
reached the ears of the Government, and they 
sent to him, and after an interview with Lord 
Castlereagh, he was persuaded to go to the House 
and support the measure.^ 

It is probable that one of the results of the duel 
between Mr. Grattan and Mr. Corry, was to raise 
the price of the market, and Government felt the 

* In a list of those who voted for the Union, which the author got 
from Mr. Reilly, a Unionist and member of the House, and carefully 
marked by him, appears this note opposite Mr. Martin's name, " Two 
yeomanry corps on pay and not a man in either." 

f He was rewarded by a legal and very lucrative office in the revenue 



effect of having brought into Parliament a set of 
adventurers — persons not connected with the 
country — needy placemen — officers — pensioners 
— Englishmen —strangers — men without charac- 
ter or property; such persons were determined to 
strike a hard bargain, and one of them (Mr. 
M'Donald), being urged by the minister to support 
the measure, very coolly laid his hat across the 
Bar of the House, and declared that he would not 
vote for the Union, or take away his hat, till five 
thousand guineas were secured to him. His terms 
were complied with, and an undertaking to that 
effect was given. 

Others were incorruptible. One individual, 
though oppressed almost by actual want, without 
fortune of his own or gain from his profession, 
with a family afflicted by the most trying and ter- 
rible illness, stood firm to his country — that man 
was Francis Hardy. He was a man of sterling 
public principle, but he wanted vigour and strength 
of mind to be a distinguished speaker in the House 
of Commons. He shone better in mixed com- 
panies, where he was always ready and willing, 
gentle and polite. His manners were courteous, 
easy, and agreeable. He had much anecdote, 
and told a story well and shortly. He had read 
a good deal of French and Italian literature, and 
formed himself on their models. In society he 
always appeared with a certain polish, and never 
said anything that any one could be ashamed of: 
you always felt pleased with his private manners 
and proud of his public principles.* His writings 

* He had been in Paris with Mr. Grattan and Mr. Day in the time of 
their youth, when Marie Antoinette shone like light over the ripples of 
a whirlpool, but even in that gay capital, amidst the allurements of 
fashion, splendour, and wealth, Hardy was not insensible to the advan- 



were honest and moderate, perhaps too moderate, 
but this resulted from a soft nature, and his History 
of Lord Charlemont surprised most of his friends, 
and among them Mr. Grattan, who did not imagine 
that Hardy could have written so well ; he did 
not profess to write on the subject of the Union, 
for Lord Charlemont had died before that event, 
and it was not necessary for Hardy to do so ; be- 
sides, he did not wish to create enemies for his 
children by giving the characters of the men at 
the Union, and telling the truth that there Were 
only seven men on the side of Government who were 
not bribed* 

Message after message was sent to Hardy that 
whatever he asked would be granted, still he re- 
fused. His own friends even advised him to 
yield, and when the die was cast, and the battle 
of the country lost, terms even at that late hour 
would have been accepted. His patron (Lord 
Granard) advised him to hesitate ere he refused ; 
but Hardy remained true to his country and his 
conscience, and avoided the ignominy that would 
have followed him to the grave; s€ mark 'd with a 
blot damnd in the book of Heaven." 

Vendidit hie auro patriam dominumque potentem 
Imposuit, fixit leges pretio atque refixit 
Ausi omnes immane nefas 

Another character equally noble, with a genius 
such as few men possess and few countries can 
boast of — with a ready humour, a playful and 
ardent disposition — with more of the milk of hu- 

tages his country possessed. On one occasion, when walking up the 
grand staircase at the Tuilleries, after admiring the splendour of the 
palace, he turned to Mr. Grattan and Mr. Day, and said, M It is all very 
line, but still they have not trial by jury." 

It was in allusion to this visit of Mr. Grattan's, that Mr. Flood sai l 
when he concluded one of his poignant repli<^, " He is still so great 
that I dare say the Queen of France will have a song made on the name 
of Grattan." 

* So Mr. Grattan used to say. 
VOL. V. I 



man nature than falls to the lot of most men — and 
with fewer of their faults, though with some of their 
errors and their weaknesses — was Charles Kendal 
Bushe. He was passionately fond of literature, 
his mind was cultivated and polished in the ex- 
treme, his manner of reading was charming, — it 
was a display of taste and elegance — his mode of 
narrating was excellent, — he never fell into the 
common error which shows the vulgar mind, 
making the circumstance the point and the point 
the circumstance. As an orator — graceful, fluent, 
plausible, and zealous — he clothed his ideas in a 
garb of rich and overflowing eloquence ; with a 
voice that charmed, he modulated its tones so as 
to fall upon the ear with softness and almost with 
the sweetness of melody ;* when he spoke his eye 
kindled, and a glow of fire animated his entire 
frame, and almost communicated itself to his 
auditors* He could depress or elevate his tones 
with singular felicity, and assume the grave or the 
gay character of speech with such happy success, 
that the most polished actor could not surpass 
him. Few were blessed by Providence with 
talents like those of Bushe, and few could boast 
of such noble and disinterested conduct as that 
which he displayed at this trying and momentous 
crisis. His public life almost began at the Union; 
he began well and never spoke better. His case 
was peculiar and interesting, and, for his character 
and that of his country, deserves to be recorded. 
His father had died owing considerable debts, 
which his son was not, however, in law bound to 
pay; but he considered that he was so in honour, 
and though encumbered by a large family, without 
fortune of his own, and with small professional 
rank at the time, he discharged them all. 

* Such it was in his early days, but it grew severe by the practice at 
the bar and the wrangle of Nisi Prius. 


Aware of his situation, the political vampire who 
then ruled — the spoliator of public honour and of 
private fame — summoned one of the familiars 
whom he kept in waiting to bribe the poor, to 
seduce the virtuous, and to entrap the unwary ; 
he despatched him to Charles Bushe. The offer 
was made, — any sum, any terms that would be 
asked were to be complied with : but he refused 
every temptation. After this interview, when he 
reflected on the state of his affairs in ruin, and be- 
held his family so straitened in circumstances (he 
stated this to me himself) — 

I threw myself in my chair, and for a moment almost 
doubted whether it was right in me to keep in such a state 
so many human beings, when I thought on the splendid 
offers I had refused, — offers that astonished, almost bewil- 
dered me,* 

Charles Bushe was incorruptible, — he saved 
his honour ; he would have saved his country too ; 
and the doubt of which he spoke was the mere 
caprice of his fancy. Had his distress and his 
temptation been multiplied a hundred fold, he 
would have remained pure. 

High on the list of able and sterling patriots 
stood Peter Burrowes. He possessed an excellent 
understanding, and a sound practical judgment. 
His powers of discrimination were such that men 
who had the most difficult matters to settle have 
gone to consult him, and he was never wrong. 
He had an honest, good-humoured openness that 
prepossessed every one in his favour ; he was 
full of strong national feelings, generous in his 
disposition, humane, and benevolent ; he was a 
sincere friend and kind relative, an incorruptible 
senator, and an honest Irishman. The earnestness 
of his manner was striking and peculiar ; and 

* He said nearly the same to his relation, Henry Amyas Bushe, " I 
did not think it possible such offers could be made — Ihey staggered me" 

i 2 


though he appeared over sanguine and eager in 
the view he took, whether of persons or of things, 
yet there was something so plainly ingenuous and 
unsuspecting in his nature, that he secured the 
esteem and won the confidence of all, whether 
friends or strangers. In relating anecdotes, he 
amused by the quaint and curious turn he gave 
to his story ; though his voice and manner of de- 
livery were somewhat against him, he threw the 
whole force of his mind into the thought, and 
seemed to labour with the idea that impressed 
him, till his words burst forth with fervour, and he 
carried persuasion to his hearers, because he 
seemed convinced himself. He was gifted with a 
very rare and a most amiable quality — a power 
not merely to forgive, but to forget an injury, and 
he never harboured in his mind a rancorous 
recollection. He loved to speak well of his fel- 
low-creature, and when he could not do so he 
was silent. He scorned to stoop to the low and 
vulgar ways towards promotion, and rose superior 
to the petty arts that too often prevail in politics, 
and are not seldom practised in his profession. 
He despised money and disregarded office, if 
neither could be obtained without the sacrifice of 
principle, or his country's good, or of public vir- 
tue. He knew there was such a thing as fame 
which did not rest on the adventitious aid of vain 
titles or false honours that may be received during 
life, but on the retributive justice of posterity, that 
awards praise where it is justly due, and tells the 
virtuous man — " Thou shall not die but live;" and 
he had within him a voice surer and more im- 
partial than even Posterity's. 

In early life* he displayed that independence of 

* Mr. Burrowes was one of the first who proposed a resolution in 
favour of the Catholics (Mr. Grattan had first done it at Dungannon). 
A public meeting was held at the Exchange in Dublin in 1783, when 
the Volunteer Convention sat at the Rotunda, Burrowes was a delegate 



mind which he preserved to the last, unaffected 
by the glitter that surrounds the great, or the 
temptations held out by the powerful and by the 
wealthy. The Beresfords could not seduce, the 
Chancellor could not bribe, nor the Minister buy 
him ! From first to last he was an honest man. 
Being private tutor to a son of Mr. John Beres- 
ford (the first commissioner of revenue) when in 
the University of Dublin, an offer was made to 
him to travel with this young man, and, if he 
wished it, that a seat in Parliament should be 
provided for him; but one condition was required, 
namely, that his politics should coincide with 
those of his patron.* Mr. Burrowes had uniformly 
entertained Liberal opinions and genuine Irish 
feelings, so that any agreement on that point was 
impossible; the proposed mode of advancing his 
personal interests was declined, and the drudgery 
of the bar was preferred. Thus bereft of fortune, 
he pursued an independent course in preference 
to a connexion with a powerful family by whom 
he was held in esteem, and who would have 
secured for him promotion in his profession, and 
elevation to the counsels of the State. 

His generous disposition may be judged of from 
his conduct to his relations. In the time of the 
unfortunate disturbances in '98, Mr. Burrowes's 

from a corps of 400 men (of which John Kemble, the celebrated actor, 
was likewise member), and he proposed " That it be referred to a Com- 
mittee to consider whether the admission of Catholics into the Constitu- 
tion was not a measure that should be adopted in the plan of Reform 
then contemplated by the Volunteers." This proposal caused great 
emotion ; the debate on the subject was adjourned, and in the interim 
many persons of distinction and influence called on Mr. Burrowes to 
dissuade him from the measure; but he remained firm, and would not 
yield. The question, however, was not entertained by the Convention. 
(See the letters of General Burgoyne and Lord Northington, and the 
conduct of Sir Boyle Roche and the Government, vol. iii. pp. 116, 128, 

* In justice to the Beresfords, who have many private virtues, it must 
be said, that they held Mr. Peter Burrowes in the highest esteem to the 
last moment. 



brother lost his life. He was opposed to him in 
politics ; and hostile to the people, his house was 
attacked, burned, and everything consumed; his 
daughter remained helpless, but Mr. Burrowes 
protected her, and gave her an annuity for her 
support. So kind and liberal was he, that at one 
time he supported nearly all his relatives, and they 
were not inconsiderable in number. 

At the period of the Union he came into Par- 
liament, and his pen, his voice, his vote, were all 
used in behalf of Ireland. The panegyric he 
delivered upon Mr. Grattan does honour to him 
who gave and him who received it. At the bar 
he proved an able counsel and strenuous advocate. 
To a sound opinion he united the knowledge of 
law and the love of the constitution, and improved 
the former by his admiration for the latter. He 
was often engaged in the defence of the United 
Irishmen, and was more in their secrets than most 
men ; he discharged his professional duty towards 
them with courage and fidelity. He was an inti- 
mate friend and great admirer of the Emmet 
family, and this connexion probably brought him 
into a patriotic though perilous contact with that 

He was Counsel for the Roman Catholic dele- 
gates in 1811 and 1812 after the arrest of Lord 
Fingal when, by the imprudence and misconduct 
of the Government, the Constitution was daringly 
violated, the Catholics insulted, and the country 
convulsed from centre to circumference. 

Mr. Burrowes had to contend for them against 
hired Sheriffs and packed Juries,* and by sur- 
prising good fortune and great ability he obtained 
a verdict for his client. 

The speech he made on that occasion was a 

* On this trial of Kirwan it appeared that the list of the jury came from 
the pocket of the Under Secretary at the Castle — Sir Charles Saxton ! ! 



masterpiece of forensic eloquence, profound argu- 
ment, great legal reasoning, and sound constitu- 
tional doctrine. It remains an immortal testi- 
mony in favour of liberty. His friend the Solicitor- 
General (Charles Bushe) was opposed to him ; 
and though he had the last address to the Jury, 
and made perhaps his effort at the bar, Mr. Bur- 
rowes triumphed, and his speech remained as a 
record not only of his success but of his supe- 
riority. He defeated his foes and surpassed his 
friend;* baffled the Castle, and acquitted the 

The Opposition Members, notwithstanding their 
repeated defeats, still sustained the contest with 
a praiseworthy spirit and determined perseve- 
rance. Accordingly, when the House was again 
in Committee, on the 21st February, and Lord 
Castlereagh moved the second resolution, it was 
ably resisted by Mr. Saurin, Lord Corry, Mr. 
O'Donnell, and Mr. Tighe, who moved an adjourn- 
ment ; Mr. Saurin delivered a most able and justly 
celebrated speech against the measure ; and thus 
ended — 

I, then, would ask the noble Lord, and he is bound to 
answer it to this House and to the nation, what are the pos- 
sible measures, what the acts, what the regulations, which the 
wisdom, of his Majesty's Ministers may deem fit and salu- 
tary for this country, and calculated to tranquillize it ? and 
which he could venture to say would or could be passed 
in the Parliament magnificently styled Imperial, that 
would not and might not be passed in the Parliament of 
Ireland ? If none — is Union then a measure to tranquillize 
Ireland ? Can it tranquillize Ireland to see its Parlia- 
ment extinguished, under which it has enjoyed liberty and 
security? — a Parliament that has extended to the subjects 
of this country the benefits of the Habeas Corpus Bill ; 

* Charles Bushe (Solicitor-General) was mistaken in his construction 
of the Convention Act ; the opinions of Lord Erskine, Sir Samuel 
Romilly, and Sir Arthur Pigott were better, and were against him. If 
they were bad constitutional lawyers in Ireland, it must have been that 
there was no constitution there. Sir Arthur Pigott (Attorney-General) 
told the author that Burrowes's speech was unanswerable. 



has declared a standing army in time of peace, without the 
consent of Parliament, contrary to law ; has established 
the independence of the Judges of the land; has cherished, 
has secured, and promoted, the trade, the manufacture, and 
the agriculture of Ireland, now flourishing in an unex- 
ampled degree; that shelters and protects the people of 
this country against the insolence of office and the en- 
croachments of authority; ensures to this country the 
residence of its nobility and gentry, by furnishing to men of 
rank and education an honourable occupation, the objects of 
honest ambition and honourable exertion ; ensures to the 
country the enjoyment of that patronage with which the 
King is entrusted ; renders this country the seat of arts ; 
that improves and embellishes society ; that gives to this 
country a metropolis vieing in extent and beauty with the 
first cities in Europe ; that makes the distinction in a 
country between a nation and a province. These are the 
benefits and blessings of a resident independent Legis- 
lature ! ! 

The resolution was carried without a division, 
and Mr. Tighe's motion rejected. 

V/illiam Saurin was descended from a French 
family that took refuge in Ireland after the revo- 
cation of the edict of Nantes. He was called to 
the bar in 1780, and raised himself by his ability 
to the first rank in his profession. He kept aloof 
from public life until danger threatened his coun- 
try ;* then he came forward, and interposed in a 
noble manner in her defence. His style of speak- 
ing was grave and imposing; his delivery was 
earnest and impressive ; so that he both interested 
and persuaded. He was a good debater ; his 
reasoning was sound and logical ; but he was 
neither eloquent nor brilliant. His legal know- 
ledge was extensive ; and served to strengthen 
the constitutional doctrines he laid down, and 
which he advanced in the boldest and most fear- 
less manner in support of the liberties of his 

* He was so respected by his brethren at the bar, that they at once 
elected him as captain to command the Lawyers' Corps of Yeomanry 




country ; and in consequence, his conduct at the 
Union procured for him universal admiration. 

His private character was modest and moral, 
and stood deservedly high ; and he enjoyed a 
reputation without a blemish. In his domestic 
circle he was amiable ; his manners were easy 
and gentle, and his temper calm and unruffled. 
This was the more surprising, as it was least 
expected, for he had a sombre air, a dark and 
overhanging brow, and a saturnine cast of countc- 
nance. Even his smile was tinged with severity, 
and his laugh (when he did laugh) was deep and 
hollow. Altogether, he would have been an ex- 
cellent model for the portrait of a puritan in the 
days of Cromwell. Notwithstanding this cold 
and unprepossessing exterior, he was much liked in 
private ; and had a number of personal friends, 
and among them those who were diametrically 
opposed to him in politics. They not only sought 
for but relished his society. 

Narrowness of mind was Saurin's misfortune — 
it seemed as if the edict of Nantes was evermore 
floating before his eyes, and that its revocation 
had filled his mind with supernatural horrors 
— thus when the Catholic question came on, 
he fell into a religious trance, and ended his 
political life in a state of somnambulism, — he 
could see, and he could walk, but in other re- 
spects was wholly irrational and insensible; lie 
deluded himself by imaginary fears, and remained 
to the last in a state of political aberration. The 
proceedings that he instituted against the Roman 
Catholics in 1811 and 1812,* were unconstitu- 
tional and indefensible, and his doctrine on the 
Convention Bill was arbitrary in the extreme. 

* Trials of Dr. Sheridan in 1811, and of Thomas Kirwan in 1812, on 
indictments under the Convention Act. Account of the jury panel 
arrayed by the Castle Sheriff on the second trial, as stated in Mr. Bur- 
rowes's speech, published Dublin, 1812. Dr. Sheridan was acquitted; 
Mr. Kirwan was found guilty. 



As a public prosecutor he was injudicious, severe, 
and oppressive ; he allowed his religious preju- 
dices to interfere and master him, and he suffered 
himself to be dragged along with a furious fac- 
tion and an intemperate court party that was at 
war with the people. The contest was angry 
and personal, and the mutual provocations bitter 
and exasperating.* Yet amid this racking strife 
he generally preserved a placid temper, and had 
address to disguise if not to subdue his wrath, so 
that he was seldom, if ever, thrown off his guard. 
His influence during the Tory administration 
which so long afflicted Ireland before the arrival 
of Lord Wellesley, was paramount and omni- 
potent—all those feelings of affection for his 
native country, which had shone forth so vividly 
and generously at the period of the Union, ap- 
peared to have been lost in the fear, if not the 
detestation, with which he regarded every effort 
to ameliorate the condition of the Catholic 
people; his whole life after 1800, was a conti- 
nued struggle against every principle that sa- 
voured of, and every man who supported reli- 
gious liberty. He was incapable of doing what 
he believed to be a mean action, and possessed a 
lofty and commendable pride, but he was essen- 
tially a religious bigot ; and there were few acts, 
no matter how flagrant or oppressive, that his 
religious antipathies might not have induced him 
to perform.^ The system of packing juries with 
heated religious partisans flourished, in the most 
mischievous luxuriance, under his sway ; at no 
other period had the insolence of the Orange 
faction a more unrestrained and licentious do- 
minion; at no other period did the Catholic 

* Duel, death of Mr. d'Esterre; challenge, O'Connell and Mr. (Sir 
Robert) Peel. 

f His letter to Lord Norbury about jurors of "the right sort" will 
not easily be forgotten. His prosecutions of the press increased more 
than ever. 




Barrister, or the Liberal Protestant Barrister, 
find the obstacles to his advancement more insu- 
perable, than while the Bar was represented by- 
Mr. Saurin as Attorney-General, and modelled 
by Lord Manners as Chancellor. With the 
accession of Lord Wellesley to power in Ireland, 
his overgrown influence was at an end ; for up 
to that moment he had been virtually the Go- 
vernor of Ireland. He complained of ill treat- 
ment from the new administration ; but it was 
the change in the system of policy ; the advance 
from bigotry to toleration ; from darkness to 
light, that galled and grieved him.* After the 
Union he fell into the fatal error that Foster had 
committed before it ; — he had defended and stood 
up for Ireland as a people — he now depreciated 
and divided her and strove to sink her as a sect; 
he had avoided these dangerous shoals at the 
commencement of his voyage, but he was thrown 
upon them afterwards, and there he shattered all 
his fortunes; office was his ruin, he sunk by ac- 
cepting it, and he would have stood high and re- 
spected if he had kept free from its trammels and 
had not been embarrassed by that unpopular ap- 
pendage (the Attorney-Generalship) — it led him 
towards a mimic court (the rabble rout of Comusf 
without its elegance), and made him live among 
a set whose opinions he could not value, and 
whose conduct he could not respect. This des- 
perate fidelity was ill rewarded by the party 
whose fortunes he had embraced, J and in the 

* An anecdote is related of Lord Wellesley which explains the feel- 
ings that rankled in the ex-Attorney-General's heart: " I have been told," 
said the Viceroy, "that I have ill-treated Mr. Saurin. I offered him the 
chief justiceship of the King's Bench ; that was not ill-treating him : I 
offered him an English Peerage; that was not ill-treating him : I did 
not, it is true, continue him in the Viceroyalty of Ireland, for I," said 
Lord Wellesley, with increasing animation, "I am the Viceroy of 
Ireland !" 

j The Duke of Richmond's administration. 

| He was attorney-general from 1807, when the Whig party left 
office, to 1822, when they returned. 



end he was passed by and neglected by them. 
On the whole, his case affords a striking instance 
how hazardous and unwise it is for any Irish- 
man, Whig or Tory, Protestant or Catholic, to 
embark his fame and fortunes with any other 
party except that of his country. Had this 
man lived and died the Saurin of 1800, the entire 
nation would have joined to inscribe on his 
tomb an epitaph that would have rendered his 
name immortal ! 

On the 27th of February, the subject of the 
Union was again debated in Committee, when 
Mr. Foster made another admirable speech ; he 
entered at considerable length into the entire 
question, the disgrace the Peerage were to 
undergo; the small number of representatives 
from Ireland in comparison with the number 
from England and Scotland ; he entered on the 
religious part of the question, and did justice 
to the Catholics. It was unfortunate that his 
mind had not expanded itself at an earlier period. 

Is the Irish Parliament to be so degraded, that it 
cannot discuss every question of Irish concern, and that 
a distant Parliament sitting in a distant land, is more 
adequate to it, or will give more content by its decision? — 
No, sir, we are not so lost to all duty, to all love of our 
country, to all integrity, that we are not to be trusted with 
the concerns of Ireland. 

I will tell the Right Hon. Gentleman, why I do 
not join that question with the Union. The Union seeks 
to take away our Parliament, our freedom, and our pros- 
perity ; the Catholic is equally a native of Ireland, equally 
bound by duty, by inclination to his country; he sees 
with us the danger of the attack, and joins with the 
Protestant to prevent its approach, and save the consti- 
tution ; he is wise in doing so — all differences are lost, they 
are asleep in this common cause, he joins heart to heart with 
his fellow-subjects, to oppose the common enemy, this 
damnable, destructive, and I had almost said, deceitful 
measure; if I were to ransack every dictionary in the 




English language, I could not find words strong enough 
to express my abhorrence of the plan, or my dread of its 
fatal consequences. 

You talk of its restoring tranquillity — it is but talk — 
will taking men of property out of the country do it? will 
a plan full of the seeds of jealousy and discontent effect it? 
Will depriving a nation of the liberty which it has ac- 
quired, and to which it is devoted, ensure content ? — If 
religious jealousies disturb its quiet, are they to be allayed 
by a British Parliament? — No, sir, leave our own concerns 
to our own Parliament, we are equal to their manage- 
ment — and we will not yield in wisdom, liberality, pa- 
triotism, or firmness, to any Parliament that can sit in 
Britain, formed on new speculations, unknown to the 

But I ask, if those jealousies have disturbed our quiet, 
who roused them ? I answer, that bench ! — not the noble 
lord, but those who then sat on that bench — British, not 
Irish councils, roused them ! and British, not Irish coun- 
cils, now propose this Union. 

Let us look back to 1782 — Irish spirit and British 
liberality removed all jealousies at that period : not one 
has occurred since between the kingdoms, and British 
councils now come forward to undo the measures of 1782 
— to rouse, by this ill-timed project, public apprehension, 
and to put us into the situation we were in before that 
period, when continued jealousies retarded our prosperity, 
and distracted our tranquillity. 

Review the whole measure; it leaves to us every 
appendage of a kingdom, except what constitutes the 
essence of independence, a resident Parliament — separate 
state, separate establishment, separate exchequer, separate 
debt, separate courts, separate laws, the lord lieutenant, 
and the castle, all remain; we shall become a colony on 
the worst of terms, paying a settled system of contribu- 
tion, to be levied by laws not of our own making — and 
what are the benefits in return? None pretended, except 
in trade and revenue, which I have shown you to be the 
reverse of benefits — but if they were ever so great, I 
would spurn the offer, to be purchased by our liberty; 
neither revenue or trade will remain where the spirit of 
liberty ceases to be their foundation, and nothing can 
prosper in a state which gives up its freedom. — I declare 
most solemnly, that if England could give us all her 




revenue and all her trade, I would not barter for them 
the free constitution of my country. Our wealth, our pro- 
perties, our personal exertions are all devoted to her sup- 
port — our freedom is our inheritance, and with it we can- 
not barter. 

Mr. Foster was the son of the Chief Baron of 
the Exchequer — he was educated in Ireland, and 
called to the Bar in 1766, but soon left it for 
politics. He was appointed Chancellor of the 
Exchequer in 1785, and on the resignation of 
Mr. Pery in 1786, was chosen Speaker of the 
House of Commons. Notwithstanding some 
blemishes in his public character, he was en- 
dowed with many excellent qualities — his mea- 
sures in support of the Corn Trade of Ireland* 
were good, he followed in this respect the track 
of Lord Pery, and was of great utility to his 
country ; his care and personal attention to the 
Linen and Cotton manufactures were highly 
serviceable to the people, and redounded greatly 
to his credit. He had surprising knowledge of 
the resources of Ireland, her trade, her com- 
merce, and her capabilities. His design in pro- 
posing the original commercial propositions in 
1785 was excellent; he forbore to urge those 
that were so faithlessly sent from England, 
and acted a wise and judicious part. He was 
an Irishman, though too much of a courtier, 
and too little inclined to the people; his com- 
mencement in Ireland was bad, but his conclusion 
was good. At his outset he supported a per- 
petual Mutiny Bill—opposed Free Trade in 1779, 
and opposed Independence in 1781, these how- 
ever were times when England was all dominant, 
and few men dared to speak or even think for 
their country ; but his fatal error was hostility to 

* In 1770, Ireland could not supply her people with bread, but these 
measures of Mr. Pery and Mr. Foster enabled her not only to feed 
them, but to export in large quantities. 




the Catholics — on this question he discovered his 
mistake too late, and in 1800 he found at last 
how vain it was to contend for the freedom of a 
country without the aid of all her people. When 
Speaker of the Lower House he abridged the 
privileges of the Commons, limiting the space 
usually allotted to them in the gallery of the 
House, and appropriating it to the attendants of 
the Court, and here he acted in a partial and 
arbitrary as well as an unconstitutional manner. 
In 1795, at the time of Lord Fitzwilliam's short 
administration, he was sent for by the advisers of 
the Whig party, and was consulted by them in 
preference to Mr. Beresford ; the reason was that 
Foster was an Irishman attached to Ireland, 
though usually supporting Government, but Mr. 
Beresford was an English slave, though in private 
he was an honourable man. Foster was at no 
period ever popular, and his conduct in ? 9S 
was abominably bad, but at the Union he re- 
deemed himself; his arguments on that subject 
were excellent and unanswerable, and it was a 
fortunate circumstance for Ireland that he was 
friendly to her at that crisis, as a speech from 
him against her would have been highly preju- 
dicial to her interests. He did not possess any 
eloquence, but had a calm delivery — his manner 
was neither impassioned nor vehement, but he 
was accurate and firm; his argument was generally 
able, his positions well arranged, close, and re- 
gular ; his knowledge of the financial affairs of 
Ireland was extensive, and his speeches on her 
trade and commerce at the time of the Union 
were unrivalled and never answered. 

He received little attention from Mr. Pitt after 
the Union, and was not regarded by him; the 
latter remembered that Mr. Foster called his 
speech on that subject a paltry production, and 



his knowledge of finance was designedly dis- 
paraged in England ; he was, however, created 
Chancellor of the Exchequer for Ireland, on the 
retirement of Mr. Corry, and supported the Corn 
Bill in 1815, with a view to promote the agricul- 
ture of Ireland. On the whole he was a remark- 
able Irishman, and so long as Ireland need refer 
to the History of the Union for proof that it was 
neither a gain nor a compact her advocates will 
consult Mr. Foster's speeches. 

Notwithstanding the majorities that had been 
procured, Government appear to have entertained 
some apprehensions as to their final success ; the 
letter of the Lord Lieutenant to his friend and 
successor in India, reveals his opinion as to the 
" cold and languid" character of his party con- 
trasted with the zeal and activity of the others — 
when the letter has been read it shall be charac- 
terized as it deserves. 

The Marquis of Cornwallis to Lord Mornington. 

Dublin Castle, 2nd March, 1800. 
*#■*■# Your Correspondents in England 
will probably tell you that every thing is going on well in 
Ireland, and that the Union will be carried with ease, 
but believe me the task will turn out more difficult than 
they imagine, and although I trust that we shall ulti- 
mately succeed ; it will be after a long and violent con- 
test, the leaders of the Oppositioii are able, and their fol- 
lowers are animated with that zeal which vanity, prejudice, 
and self-interest naturally inspire. Mr. Grattan lias come 
forward ; their cause is espoused in distant parts of the 
kingdom by the lower class, who looked on with indifference 
as long as faction was untainted by disloyalty. We have 
a majority of between forty and fifty, scarcely any of 
whom will I believe desert from us — but they are in general 
cold and languid friends — and it is very difficult to procure 
such an attendance as the importance of the case and the 
activity and unfair dealing of the enemy render necessary 
for our daily security. 




Such is the letter of the representative of 
royalty, the head and director of the band of con- 
tractors who were per fas aut nefas to carry the 
Union, the man who bought and sold, bribed and 
bullied, left no class in the state from the highest 
to the lowest unapproached, unpolluted, and who 
alike contaminated the bench of justice and the 
bench of bishops ; it well became this Viceroy, 
who harboured in his Castle the wretch that went 
to Tinnehinch to entrap Mr. Grattan,* who pa- 
tronized the Assassination Club, who not only 
countenanced but promotedt the man who set 
on others to shoot their political opponents ; it 
well became him to call the honourable efforts 
of the Irish on behalf of their liberties — the effect 
of " vanity, prejudice, and self -interest," and to 
characterize Mr. Grattan and the highest men in 
the country as a " faction tainted by disloyalty" 

No circumstances should have induced Lord 
Cornwallis to act as he did. In the ensuing year 
he in part admitted his error, because he retired 
from the administration on the ground that there 
was a breach of the understanding upon which he 
embarked in the Union, namely, the Emancipa- 
tion of the Catholics. He states, that his private 
opinion was long in their favour, and that this 
concession was intended by the ministers, and 
was essential to secure to the empire the full 
benefit of the Union. He further admitted, as 
appears by a letter of Lord Redesdale's (Chan- 
cellor of Ireland) in 1802, that he and Lord 

• In the account of Secret Service Money, vouched by the affidavit of 
Edward Cooke, Esq., Under Secretary in 1798, 1800, and 1801, tMfl 
item appears : — For rooms in the Castle for Hughes since June 1798, Ji/h/ 
guineas. — Public Papers, No. XIV. See Appendix, Dr. Madden, vol. ii. 

t Mr. St. George Daly (who, at the meeting of the Castle party, said 
that "he had taken his man already, n recommending all to do the same) 
was promoted, on the dismissal of Mr. James Fitzgerald, Prime Ser- 

VOL. V. K 



Castlereagh were both pledged to the Catholics, and 
that such were their expressions ;* however, 
although he did not assent to the violation of 
the compact, he assisted in the sale, and this 
stain will for ever be attached to his name. 
History will record his ignominious conduct in 
Ireland while it commemorates his disgraceful 
capture in America, and notwithstanding his 
vaunted services in the East, the tears of India 
will rather augment than obliterate the disgrace. f 
On the 4th of March, Mr. George Ponsonby 
renewed his efforts against the Union, and 
brought forward a motion of address to His 
Majesty. He stated that twenty-six counties 
and most of the principal cities and towns, had 
petitioned against the measure ; that toward 
the close of the last session of Parliament, and 
since that period, no less than sixty three mem- 
bers had vacated their seats by accepting the 
Escheatorship of Munster, a nominal office similar 
to the stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds ; 
that in the last Parliament the measure had been 
rejected, but that, since and by means of the 
Place Bill, the House had not only entered on 
the subject, but voted the principle. He then 
proposed three resolutions, first, that it was the 
constitutional right of the subject to petition ; 
that during the session petitions from twenty-six 
counties, besides several cities and towns, had 
been presented against the measure of Union ; 
that these resolutions be laid before the Lord 

* SeeLord Redesdale's letter to Lord Eldon, May, 1802, where he uses 
these words, "Lord Cornwallis and Lord Castlereagh are both pledged, 
as they say, to the Catholics." Yet Lord Castlereagh denied in 1810, 
on Mr. Grattan's motion in favour of the Catholics, that any pledges 
were given by him or Lord Cornwallis ! — See Lord Eldon s Life, vol. i. 

f When Lord Clive returned from his eastern conquests, he built a 
splendid mansion; it was inhabited too soon and the walls were drip- 
ping wet, upon which a friend observed, " These are the tears of India/'' 



Lieutenant, with an address praying that they be 
laid before His Majesty. 

Mr. Saurin said, " that the measure went 
fundamentally to alter the constitution or rather 
to subvert it and substitute another, he denied 
that they could do this, they could not change 
the constitution without the consent or will of the 
people." Mr. Fox said, " that the people of 
Ireland had for six hundred years lived over 
a sleeping volcano, and that it must end." 
Plunket said, " that if Government passed the 
measure against the consent of the people of 
Ireland, the act will want all the attributes of 
the law, let the people of England beware lest 
their plan of subjugating and enslaving Ireland 
be not calculated to prepare the way for the 
slavery of England herself; the progress of the 
Minister towards simplicity of government makes 
it more likely; it is the simplicity of despotism 
to which all his measures tend." These resolu- 
tions were supported by Lord Corry, Colonel 
Barry, Stuart of Killymoon, Dawson, Lambert 
and Burrowes. Lord Castlereagh proposed the 
adjournment, which was carried by 155 to 107. 
Decisive and effectual as were these majorities, 
yet they appeared feeble and languid in the eyes 
of the Military Chief Governor, he sought to cut 
short these difficulties which he stated in his 
letter to Lord Mornington, and as if he could brook 
no delay, and could not even patiently wait the 
approaching demise of the Constitution, he deter- 
mined to expedite it by every means in his power, 
and again applied but with accumulated force his 
two favourite engines of destruction — terror and 
bribery. On the Sth of March his Attorney- 
General (Toler) brought in a bill more effectually 
to suppress the insurrection, and on the 18th 
his Solicitor-General brought in a bill to vest the 
k 2 



military with the jurisdiction and powers which 
the magistrates had under the Insurrection Act. 
Thus, by appointing to the commission of the 
peace, which already possessed rather an un- 
limited jurisdiction, the officers of the army, who 
had neither property nor connections in the coun- 
try where they acted, or in any part of Ireland, 
they in effect transformed a civil into a military 
government. On the ensuing day the abominable 
bill was committed and carried — the numbers 
being 140 to 56 against it. 

This measure was followed up by another of 
the same character, and on the 11th of March, 
the Attorney-General (Toler) brought in a Re- 
bellion Bill, which enacted martial law, and gave 
to the Lord Lieutenant the power to name upon 
courts-martial any officers or persons he chose, 
and made his certificate conclusive evidence on 
behalf of those who formed this tribunal, so as 
to protect them from the consequences of any 
excesses they might be guilty of under colour of 
the extraordinary powers vested in them ; if a 
rebellion had existed, such an act would even 
then have been considered an outrageous mea- 
sure, but after a period of two years there could 
not be any apology for its introduction. Mr. 
Peter Burrowes opposed it most ably, supported 
by Mr. Plunket, Parsons, Tighe, and Dawson ; 
Lord Castlereagh, Mr. Toler, and Dr. Duigenan 
contended for it vehemently; five repeated divi- 
sions took place with a view to arrest its pro- 
gress, but they were unsuccessful and it passed 
the Committee. 

Let it not be supposed that these bills were 
suffered to lie dormant on the statute book ; 
the military, being transformed into magistrates, 
became active civil officers, and administered the 
laws as if trained up in the halls of Westminster 



and the Four Courts. A court-martial was held 
in Limerick by Sir James Duff,* to 11 try any 
persons for rebellion, sedition, or any crimes co?i- 
nected therewith such was the notice, and ac- 
cordingly they tried three countrymen for bur- 
glary in attacking a dwelling-house. 

The remaining measure of Government was of 
so astounding a nature, such a daring violation 
of every principle of justice and even decency, 
one of such wholesale bribery and turpitude, 
that it was carefully reserved for the last, and 
after the principle of the Union had been agreed 
to. The House having been prevailed on to go 
so far; any hesitation to advance still further in 
iniquity, and wade through every offensive mea- 
sure, was soon overcome. The plan was to ex- 
pend a million and a half in direct sums for the 
purchase of the boroughs : in other words, to buy 
the House of Commons. 

Fifteen thousand pounds was the sum to be 
awarded to each borough, and commissioners were 
subsequently to be appointed to allocate the sums 
to all who had an interest, or set up any claim; 
and accordingly, as in the case of Maryborough, 
individuals who had but a remote right, were 
considered and recompensed ; this wholesale pur- 
chase was carried on with most barefaced effron- 
tery on the part of the purchaser as well as the 
seller. The subjoined letter is one of the speci- 
mens of the spirit of the times, and shows the 
mischief a corrupt minister can occasion when 
he thus contaminates the whole society. 

* He was the officer in command of the troops ^ho put to death in 
cold blood a number of insurgents in the Curragh of Kildare, in 1798, 
after they had surrendered and yielded up their arms on the under- 
standing that they were to be protected. An excuse has been offered for 
this — An Excuse! for the massacre of unarmed powerless peasants to 
whom faith had been pledged ! 


Edward May to the Marquis of Donegal. 
My dear Lord, 
I have just seen a letter informing me that Mr. Con- 
greve has written to you, and that lie is ready to resign 
his seat. I have sent to Dublin desiring the necessary 
papers for him to sign to be sent to you, which be so good 
as to forward to him requesting him to sign them, and 
send them either to me in Waterford, or to the proper 
officer in Dublin — or enclose me a letter to him desiring 
him to sign the papers. As I have ordered duplicates to 
be sent to me, I can get it done by sending some one to 

I beg you will not delay answering this, as Lord Castle- 
reagh is just arrived, and the 'parliamentary business will 
be immediately concluded. When compensation is made for 
the borough of Antrim, I think you should make a demand. 
You have the returning officer. You are Lord of the 
Manor, and could have commanded a great power there. 
/ think you may get seven thousand pounds for your share. 
Your father always supported the Skeffington family as 
near relations. I would not move in this until I heard 
from you ; let me know, your opinion and I will act ac- 
cordingly when I go to Dublin, but you should not delay. 
Lord Masereene will claim the whole. Why should not 
you do what every other man in the kingdom does! 

Believe me, sincerely yours, 

Edward May. 

Clonmel, October 23, 1800. 

How prophetic the admonition of Mr. Grattan 
when, years before, he cautioned the country 
against the Ministry, when in '96 he complained 
of the conduct of Government, and repeated the 
words Lord Clare had dared to use in the House 
of Commons, that half a million had formerly 
been expended in buying the House, and that 
half a million would be required again. At that 
time Mr. Grattan emphatically told the people 
that they should extinguish the Minister, or he 
would extinguish the country. The event now 
proved the truth of those expressions ; that infa- 


mous project was now on the point of being- 
carried into effect ; and a regular sale and barter 
of the people's rights and liberties was about being 
accomplished. The sum had been tripled, and one 
million and a half was to be the price of the pur- 
chase. Thus the money was extracted from the 
pockets of the Irish, in order to buy the persons 
who sold them; so that, in fact, the nation paid for 
its own extinction. Ireland has always been 
compelled to feed the assassin who stabs her to 
the heart. 

The shameful and enormous amount of money 
expended in this horrid traffic appears in the 
public accounts. On the 25th March, 1798 (the 
public accounts were always made up to that 
day), the funded debt of Ireland amounted to 
9,275,000/.; on the 25th March, 1799, after the 
insurrection was over, the funded debt amounted 
to 14,920,000/. ; and on the 1st January, 1801, it 
had risen to 26,841,000/. It is not to be believed 
that the expenses attendant on the insurrection 
could have amounted to seventeen millions and a 
half (the increase from '98 to 1801). The secret 
service money (a most important item in the 
rebellion budget of the Castle), let it be recol- 
lected, was but 53,000/. ; so that the purchase of 
the boroughs and of the members were the grand 
items of expense. Such a profligate and daring- 
appropriation of public money ; its audacity, its 
infamy, roused the just indignation of the Oppo- 
sition ; and Mr. George Ponsonby gave notice 
that he should, on Thursday, 13th of March next, 
bring forward a resolution on the subject of the 
proposed measure for devoting the money of the 
people to purchase the representatives of the coun- 
try, under the colour of compensating borough- 

Mr. Plunket, rising, with indignation exclaimed. 



I ask the noble Lord to answer now. The Committee has 
gone through the legislative part of the measure, in which, 
I understood by the noble Lord's statement, that he meant 
to have introduced a proposal for compensation to the 
owners of boroughs, in consideration of an Union. Am I to 
understand, by the noble Lord not having brought for- 
ward that proposal now, that he has abandoned it ? 
because, if the noble Lord has decency enough to abandon 
so infamous, so base a part of his plan, as that of employ- 
ing the money of the people to buy up their representa- 
tives, he deserves credit; and I call upon him now to stand 
up in his place and avow the abandonment, in order that 
the public mind may be calmed upon a subject of such 
abomination, so irritating to their feelings, so insulting to 
the honour of their country ; and in order that no base 
miscreant— however honourable or noble his rank, however 
powerful his influence, who had the meanness and crimi- 
nality to listen to the corrupt and degrading proposal of 
purchasing from him the representative rights of his 
country for fifteen, twenty, or forty thousand pounds, to 
be wrung from the bowels of his miserable country, and 
afterwards have the baseness to boast of his venality- 
may continue to exult in his infamous and corrupt triumph 
over every principle of national honour and national justice. 

This bold and animated appeal, delivered in 
Mr. Plunket's severe and caustic manner, and 
conveyed in such scathing language, produced no 
effect on the cold temperament of Lord Castle- 
reagh. He quailed before his opponent, and was 
silent. This is the meagre statement of all that 
remains of the most animated, spirited speech, 
which created so deep a sensation in the House. 

The speaker was no ordinary character. 

Of all those who came forward at this impor- 
tant crisis, Y^illiam Conyngham Plunket stood 
the first. He was returned in 1797, for the same 
place that Mr. Grattan had represented on his 
first entrance into Parliament — the Borough of 
Charlemont ; for it was the good fortune of its 
noble proprietor to have patronized two of the 




ablest men who ever appeared in any age of any 
country, and at the most eventful periods of Ire- 
land's history (the most brilliant epoch at one 
time, the most disastrous at the other) — Mr. Grat- 
tan in 1782, Mr. Plunket in 1800. The latter 
came forward to defend what the former had so 
nobly earned ; and both did honour to the prin- 
ciples and virtues of that illustrious personage, 
who in early life had encouraged their patriotic 
efforts, shared in all the national labour, and justly 
participated in the glory of his country, and who 
also had the good fortune to die before he could 
behold the destruction of that constitution which 
he had taken such pains and such pride in estab- 

Mr. Plunket was a deep reader, a profound 
thinker, and a sagacious observer of mankind. 
He could learn quicker than any man; at one 
view he perceived the tendency of a measure, and 
saw from afar its errors and its consequences. 
His power of perception was great ; his power of 
discrimination greater ; and the clearness of his 
intellect was surprising. He was full of sense 
and judgment ; he was a close and acute reasoner, 
a powerful debater, and most argumentative even 
when most eloquent. His speeches were iron- 
bound on all sides ; solid and compact ; never 
exposing a weak point to his adversary. His eye 
discovered not merely reflection, but command ; 
and his irony was the most effective and most to 
be dreaded ; it was not simply dissecting the 
human body, but flaying it alive. When he 
arraigned Lord Castlereagh for his plan to buy 
the members, by a million and a half to be ex- 
pended for the purchase of the boroughs, it was 
more than the denunciation of an injured and in- 
dignant mortal — it was fire snatched from above ; 
he soared beyond the low region where he was 




placed, to draw from a superior armoury the fittest 
weapons to defend his country, and poured down 
on the devoted head of her implacable foe the 
storm, and tempest, and lightning of his anger. 
All his speeches were remarkable, but his finest 
speeches were most finished performances ; they 
were master-pieces of oratory;* they contained 
profound views, and answered every thing. His 
speech on the Catholic question, in the Imperial 
Parliament, will long be remembered. He put 
forward the strength of their case in a manner that 
not only caught the auditory, but drew from onef 
of the greatest opponents of their claims the re- 
mark, that Plunket had done more to advance 
their cause in the House than any of their advo- 
cates; and from another, that his talents had 
excited the highest admiration, and his convincing 
speech would never be forgotten.^ His speech 
on the French war in 1815 was powerful and 
masterly ; no man in the House of Commons 
could have put the several cases of right to go to 
war, and of the right to interfere with the govern- 
ment of other States, in so powerful a manner; 
so clear, and each so distinct, like a stream that 
pours from the rock, strong and pellucid. His 
pleading in the case of the King against O' Grady 
was a master-piece of forensic ability ; so much 
so, that it was stated in private by one of the 
Judges, § that he had never known what argument 
was until he heard Plunket in that cause. A 
common observer might consider him cold and 
cautious in private, but that was not his cha- 

* Mr. Whitbread, in the debate of May, 1808, said, his brilliant 
talents and splendid eloquence at once convinced and delighted. 

f Sir Robert Peel ; and see Lord Dudley's Letters to the Bishop of 
Llandaff, p. 280. 

I Lord Castlereagh, in debates on the Catholic question. 

§ St. George Daly (brother of Denis) in a conversation with his 
nephew, the Bishop of Cashel. 




racter ; he possessed a humour at once agreeable 
and instructive, and in the minutest things he 
showed that his understanding was of the first 

Take him altogether, he was an extraordinary 
man. The son of a worthy Presbyterian clergy- 
man in the north of Ireland, possessed of a small 
fortune, who died leaving a large family with little 
to support them, and this individual then a very 
young child. Deprived of his father, he managed 
to procure for himself the best education, and to 
gain the highest name in the University of Dub- 
lin ; so high that he would not even accept a 
fellowship if it had been conferred upon him. He 
thence raised himself at the bar, and became a 
most distinguished advocate. He then got into 
the Parliament of both kingdoms ; the Irish Par- 
liament first, the Imperial Parliament afterwards. 
He was advanced to the highest offices in the 
State — Attorney General, Chief Justice, Lord 
Chancellor of Ireland. He was offered the Rolls 
in England, and finally received a British Peerage. 
All this he did — not by dint of art or money— not 
by stooping to the vulgar ways of low ambition, 
or of crafty pride — not, as Lord Clare did, by 
abusing and selling his country — nor, as Lord Eldon 
did, by cringing and crouching to royalty; he 
excelled every where, and succeeded in almost 
every thing ; he upheld the rights of Ireland, 
defended her cause, and advanced himself solely 
by his gigantic abilities and fearless energy.* 

In this catalogue George Ponsonby cannot be 
omitted. His house had long ruled in Ireland; 

* He showed great fidelity to principle — he refused the office of 
attorney-general when Mr. Fox's party left power in 1807, and thereby 
sacrificed upwards of 100,000/. Two of the leading members of the 
new government wrote to say, he might resume office and vote as he 
pleased, but he refused ths offer and disdained to sacrifice his prin- 




and, though defective in some points, was not a 
bad government for the country. He voted with 
Mr. Grattan in 1782, on the question of indepen- 
dence, and at the present crisis he exerted himself 
nobly, and struggled to preserve her constitution. 
He did so with zeal, ability, and spirit. Some of 
his speeches were w r orthy of the cause ; those in 
1799 were bold and masterly, particularly that in 
which he addressed Lord Castlereagh with so 
much sarcasm and severity. He acquired great 
credit ; and when he went to the Parliament of 
another country, he carried with him the just fame 
he had acquired by defending his own. He had 
been bred to the bar, and did his business well. 
He spoke on the case of the fiats in 1790, and 
opposed the arbitrary doctrine of the King's 
Bench in a manner at once impressive and admi- 
rable, and that evinced his knowledge of law and 
his love of the constitution. 

As a judge he was upright and efficient, and 
gave general satisfaction ; but he sat too short a 
time to establish his reputation. 

When he entered on the duties of Chancellor in 
1806, he found an arrear of six years, 600 motions, 
and 427 causes. He cleared all the motions and 
200 of the causes, besides the usual business of 
the Court ; and if he had staid in office longer, 
he would have cleared all. 

He had too much the habits of a lawyer, and 
spoke by paragraphs, which rather tires the ear ; 
and is not a style, but a repetition of curt sentences. 
In this respect his manner was deficient ; but his 
great fault was, that he did not read sufficiently 
to get to the bottom of his subject. He did not 
go as deep as he could, and not always as deep 
as he ought; he made up his mind without suffi- 
cient information ; so that although in debate he 
was a very prudent man, yet when he came to 




act he was not so: slow in council, but precipitate 
in action. 

He possessed a love of liberty, and of a sort 
that would not suffer it to overturn the Govern- 
ment. His aristocracy was not a bad one ; he 
was of use to Ireland, and deserved well of her ; 
he had a public mind, and felt for his country ; 
lie had a just reserved sense of her injuries, and 
would not omit any occasion to redress them ; he 
was a good patron and a good father, and had a 
good understanding. His voice was soft and 
pleasing; his manner calm and impressive; his 
temper unruffled and happy ; vivacity charac- 
terised his mind, and generosity his disposition.* 
He was an able speaker, and possessed an argu- 
mentative humour, a cunning shrewdness, and a 
knowledge of the folly of mankind. Unfortu- 
nately he yielded too much to narrow sentiments, 
and had a love of engrossing all consultation, and 
doing all business himself. He was too fond of 
patronage and monopoly, and affected such a 
mystery in every thing that it impaired his popu- 
larity. He acted nobly at the Union, and after 
it he went to England with a great reputation ; 
and in his new situation he not only upheld but 
increased it. He did what none of the first 
Englishmen would undertake ; he headed their 
party. His success surprised every one, and that 
among a people who require great statement and 
great knowledge of detail. The office of leader 
of the Opposition in the Imperial Parliament was 
forced upon him. Lord Grey wished to avoid it; 
Lord Henry Petty! was not anxious to take it ; 
and the party compelled Ponsonby to accept it. 
This was creditable to his character, but fatal to 

* His conduct to Mr. Goold at the Union respecting Mr. Whaley's 
seat, was noble ; see ante. 

t Now Marquis of Lansdowne. 



his fortune. He was more than generous — he 
was lavish.* As a leader he conducted himself 
with ability and discretion ; he led the party into 
no difficulties, and kept them out of several 
scrapes. f He displayed good management and 
great discretion ; did not shrink from any ques- 
tion ; spoke well on the leading ones, and on 
that of Parliamentary privilege was distinguished. 
But he showed some violence in his opposition, 
and some weakness in his government. J 

On the 13th of March, Mr. George Ponsonby 
being unwell, was not able to make the motion he 
had given notice of, and it was submitted to the 
House by Sir John Parnell, but not without 
considerable cavil and objection on the part of 
Lord Castlereagh, who insisted that the motion 
of which notice had been given by Mr. Ponsonby 
could only be made by him. The Speaker, how- 
ever, decided against Lord Castlereagh, and Sir 
John Parnell after presenting several petitions 
against the measure, proposed an address to his 
Majesty praying that he may be graciously 
pleased to dissolve the present Parliament and 
call a new one before any final arrangement shall 
be concluded in relation to the measure of a Le- 
gislative Union, he accompanied this motion by 
a very able speech, of which the following is an 
extract : — 

" What is the foundation of the application of the people, 
and upon what grounds are they justified for soliciting 
the protection of their Parliament; they wish to avert the 
loss of their constitution, which they possess under the 

* He paid 8001. a year to the Deputy of the Master of the Rolls, 
whom Mr. Curran insisted he had a right to remove from the office. 

f In the cases of the Princess of Wales and of Norway. — See Parlia- 
mentary Debates. 

I Mr. Curran, Mr. Hardy and others were not as promptly considered 
in 1806 as they deserved ; but this was after the Union, and its natural 


sanction of law, and under which they have hitherto lived 
free, and enjoyed increasing prosperity; they wish to 
avert a measure, which, from the unanimous evidence 
offered at your bar, threatens destruction to their com- 
merce and manufactures. 

" They wish to preserve tranquillity in Ireland and 
British connexion, both of which they consider to be in 
danger by this rash, unnecessary, and dangerous project 
— what is the equivalent held out to compensate them for 
the loss of their legal and established rights ? A treaty 
which on the face of it admits that it is not to be perma- 
nent, which avows that its commercial regulations, injurious 
as they are in their present state, may become more so at 
the future discretion of one of the contracting parties, 
which places the proportion of the taxes to be paid by 
this country, in a similar situation, and which binds this 
country to pay a certain proportion of an unlimited and 
incalculable expense, before the measure should be com- 
pleted. Must not the public mind naturally be turned to 
the manner in which it has been conducted, and to the 
means which have been used for carrying it into effect? 
It was introduced at a period of rebellion, when martial 
law had superseded the civil power — it was uncalled for 
on the part of Ireland, and rejected by its Parliament — 
why then has it been re-assumed, not as it has been 
alleged, from a change in the sense of the people, but 
from a change in the persons who compose this assembly 
— a much greater number than those who compose the 
minister's majority, gave their first vote in Parliament to 
alter its constitution ; however respectable in their private 
character and fortunes, they could not be the best judges 
of the Parliamentary constitution, in which they had no 
experience — they in general represent boroughs where 
seats have been vacated by the power given in the place bill, 
though the minister refuses to take the sense of the coun- 
ties by a dissolution of Parliament ; he has not hesitated 
to appeal to the sense of the boroughs, by a partial change 
in the representation of Parliament. Are these new mem- 
bers in general more attached to Ireland from their birth 
and possessions than those gentlemen were whom they 
succeed ? are we to attribute to these causes that they 
almost universally differ from them in their political 
opinions? When this question was first suggested, it 
appeared to me most dangerous in its future consequences. 



I foresaw that by banishing the Irish gentry, it removed 
from the country those who by their authority were able 
to suppress popular tumult, and give efficacy to the laws; 
those who from their known loyalty had proved themselves 
to have afforded the best bond for British and Irish con- 
nexion. I foresaw that property would be lessened, and 
that the spirit of commerce would droop in a country 
which had surrendered its constitution. I would not be 
an accomplice in a measure pregnant with such mis- 
chievous consequences. I determined to make every per- 
sonal sacrifice rather than concur in doing an injury to 
to my country. Under these impressions I propose the 
present measure. I am willing to surrender to my con- 
stituents the seat which they have conferred on me; a 
sacrifice which I trust will be adopted by other members 
of parliament, who are placed in a similar situation as 
myself — they will by doing so prove their liberality and 
their disinterestedness, preferring the interests of their 
constituents to their own. I trust that this house will 
hesitate before it adopts a measure unparalleled in the 
annals of history. No country possessed of legal, acknow- 
ledged, and undisputed rights, have ever voluntarily sur- 
rendered them, unawed by force, and undisturbed in their 
political and commercial possessions. I trust that the 
house will recollect that spirit which has ever marked the 
conduct of their ancestors, however the Irish character 
may have been degraded for the purpose of fabricating an 
argument to justify the present measure, it has ever been 
acknowledged to have been distinguished for its high and 
liberal spirit — 1 trust that the house will, by its conduct 
this night, support the national character, and save the 

Sir John Parnell was an honest, straight-for- 
ward, independent man, possessed of considerable 
ability and much public spirit; as Chancellor of 
the Exchequer, he was not deficient, and he served 
his country by his plan to reduce the interest of 
money. He was amiable in private, mild in dis- 
position, but firm in mind and purpose. His con- 
duct at the Union did him honour, and proved how 
warmly he was attached to the interests of his 
country, and, on this account he was dismissed 




from the situation in which he had succeeded Mr. 
Foster when appointed Speaker in 1786. He was 
a personal friend of Mr. Grattan's, as appears from 
the occurrence regarding his office in 1795, and 
which affords no slight proof that he was a man of 
integrity. His son Henry was with him in Parlia- 
ment, and both voted against the Union. Sir John 
was grandson to one of the judges of the Kings 
Bench in Ireland, and grandnephewof Dr. Thomas 
Parnell the poet, the friend and cotemporary of 
Swift and of Pope, whose works are eulogised by 
Johnson and Goldsmith, and immortalized by 
Pone in his Epistle and Dedication to the Earl of 

* H Such were the notes, thy once-loved poet sung, 

Till death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue. 

Oh, just beheld, and lost ! admir'd and mourn'd! 

With softest manners, gentlest arts, adorn'd! 

Blest in each science, blest in ev'ry strain ! 

Dear to the muse, to Harley dear in vain ! 

For him, thou oft hast bid the world attend, 

Fond to forget the statesman in the friend : 

For Swift and him, despis'd the farce of state 

The sober follies of the wise and great; 

Dext'rous, the craving, fawning crowd to quit, 

And pleas'd to 'scape from flattery to wit. 

Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear 

(A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear) 

Recall those nights that clos'd thy toilsome days, 

Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays : 

Who careless, now, of int'rest, fame, or fate, 

Perhaps forgets that Oxford ere was great, 

Or, deeming meanest what we greatest call, 

Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall." 
Thomas Parnell, father of the poet and the judge, had left Congleton, 
the family residence in Cheshire, at the period of the Restoration, 
had settled in Ireland, and purchased a landed property in the Queen's 
county. There was a vein of talent that ran through the entire family 
in their several generations — serviceable to their country in some — 
agreeable in others — singular and eccentric in all. Henry was the 
author of some able pamphlets on the subject of Ireland, his work on 
Finance was good, and his History of the Penal Laws was deservedly 
praised. He was a member of the Imperial Parliament for a long period 
of time, and in 1841 was created a peer by the Whig party, under the 
title of Lord Congleton. Another son of Sir John's, was William; he 
was a man of taste and considerable ability, of whimsical talents, and 
passionately fond of the country, which his residence at Avondale, near 
VOL. V. L 



This proposal to dissolve Parliament was a very- 
try in g question to the ministry, for they had all 
along contended that the people were favourable 
to the Union. They resisted the motion with all 
their might, and denied the validity of the in- 
stance of Scotland, which was quoted, and also 
that of the English [Revolution in 1688. This 
drew forth an able retort from Mr. Saurin, vindi- 
cating the conduct of those who had taken so 
meritorious and noble a part at that glorious 
period. He said — 

Those great men who had assisted in the Revolution of 
1688, had put down the slavish doctrine of passive obe- 
dience—they had declared that the king held his crown by 
compact with the people, and that when the crown violated 
that compact, by subverting, or attempting to subvert, the 
constitution, which was the guarantee of that people's 
liberty, the crown was forfeited, and the nation had a right 
to transfer the sovereign power to other hands. They had 
no notion of the doctrines which he was sorry to see now 
received — that the people were bound to submit to what- 
ever that power thought proper to inflict upon them. At 
that day such a monstrous proposition as this would not 
have been tolerated, though now it began to raise its head 
and threaten the constitution. But he for one would not 
admit it. He would re-assert the doctrine of the glorious 
Revolution, and boldly declare, in the face of that House 
and of the nation, that when the sovereign power violated 
that compact which at the Revolution was declared to 
exist between the Government and the people, that moment 
the right of resisting that power accrues. Whether it 
would be prudent in the people to avail themselves of that 
right would be another question — but surely, if there be 
this right in the nation to resist an unconstitutional as- 

the Vale of Avoca, contributed to increase, and the description of which 
can never be forgotten by any one who has read Mrs. Henry Tighe's 
poem, or Thomas Moore's melody. William sat for a short time in the 
Imperial Parliament, as member for the county of Wicklow; he, too, 
was attached to his country and to liberty; he was the author of several 
works, and his essay entitled " An Historical Apology for the Roman 
Catholics," got him just and great credit. On the whole, they were a 
race that deserve notice in the history of Ireland. 



sumption of power which threatened the public liberty, 
there could not occur a stronger case for the exercise of it 
than this measure would afford if carried against the will of 
the majority of the nation. If a Legislative Union should 
be so forced upon this country against the will of its in- 
habitants, it would be a nullity, and resistance to it icould 
be a struggle against usurpation, and not a resistance against 
law. You may make the Union binding as a law, but you 
cannot make it obligatory on conscience — it ivill be obeyed 
as long as England is strong, but resistance to it will be, in 
the abstract, a duty, and the exhibition of that resistance 
will be a mere question of prudence. 

Sir Lawrence Parsons followed in the same 
strain, and pressed the Government severely. He 
boldly asserted that, 

Posterity would never believe that the measure was 
sanctioned by the public approbation, if the proposal of 
the right honourable baronet was rejected, and if the noble 
lord attempted to carry the measure against the sense of 
the people, the consequence, sooner or later, must be a con- 
vulsion in this country, and a separation from Great 
Britain. Every country had its days of strength and days 
of weakness, and he remembered when England could en- 
force the obedience of this kingdom, but he had also seen 
that day pass by. A conquest was more difficult to main- 
tain than to effect, and he would look upon the present 
measure, if carried against the sense of the people, but as 
a measure of conquest, and if the people submit, it will 
only be from prudence and not from choice. 

On this debate Lord Castlereagh came forward 
more prominently than he had on former occa- 
sions, and, replying to Mr. Saurin, said, that while 
he acknowledged that he was a most able lawyer, 
he must say he appeared to be very young in poli- 
tics ; therefore he found it necessary to separate 
his legal from his political knowledge, and to say, 
that however his professional opinions may accord 
with the principles of the Constitution, his doc- 
trines in the House were those of Tom Paine. 
The motion was strongly supported by Mr. W. 
l 2 


SPonsonby, Grattan, Egan, and Goold, but was re- 
jected by 150 to 104. On the 19th, resolutions 
were carried, and a motion of Mr. OHara, that the 
chairman should leave the chair in order to put 
an end to the question, was lost by 112 to 134, 
majority 22. 

On these occasions Mr. Grattan in vain exerted 
himself; he moved that the report of the committee 
sriould be read on Friday the 21st August, this 
was rejected by 154 to 107, and on the 25th of 
March the report of the committee in favour of 
the Union was brought up and passed.* 

As if it were to guard against the dangers of a 
general election, and the expression of an opinion 
adverse to Government, Mr. John Claudius 13 ere s- 
ford, though he professed to be a sincere opponent 
of the Union, introduced, on the 29th of March, a 
bill to prevent persons who had aided or assisted 
the late rebellion from voting for members of Par- 
liament. This strange and unprecedented mea- 
sure embraced both guilty and innocent, many 
individuals having been driven to take that step, 
and others having received protection and pardon. 
It was supported by Dr. Duigenan and Mr. Ogle, 
and was opposed by Sir Hercules Langrishe, who 
moved it to be read that day six months, which 
he carried by 33 to 13. The scope and object of 
this was to create terror and panic throughout the 
country, and to prevent any exertion on her be- 

Another measure which was also resorted to, to 
lessen the power of the country, was proposed by 
Lord Castlereagh. He brought in a bill to enable 
the Government to accept of the services of the 
Irish militia, and he sent 5,000 of them to Eng- 

* On the 27th of March Lord Castlereagh brought in a bill to legalize 
the vote of the Parliament of 1735, against the payment of the clergy of 
the tithe of agistment. 



land ; thus the English militia were sent into 
Ireland, and the Irish militia were sent out of it. 

Another measure was the act of Indemnity, 
which was passed respecting Judkin Fitzgerald ; 
this individual had made himself notorious for the 
cruelties he had practised, even with his own 
hands, during the times of the disturbances. On 
the 6th April, Lord Mathew presented a petition 
from him praying to be indemnified for acts done 
during the time of the rebellion. This was in 
consequence of a verdict which had been given 
against him in the case of a person of the name of 
Wright, a French teacher, in whose pocket he had 
found a letter written in that language, and in 
consequence of which Judkin Fitzgerald, who 
could not read French, had flogged him most un- 
mercifully. Toler, the Attorney-General, moved 
that the petition be referred to a Secret Commit- 
tee, which was opposed by Plunket, Brown, 
Edgeworth, Hutchinson, Yelverton; the disgrace- 
ful bill, after considerable debating, was passed 
by 65 to 14 voices, and the House adjourned to 
the 10th of April. 

In the House of Lords the measure found little 
opposition ; the message in favour of a Union was 
delivered by Lord Clare on the 10th of February, 
and was carried by 75 to 26. It was supported 
by Lord Donoughmore on the ground that the 
Roman Catholics would receive justice in an 
United Parliament, where their claims would be 
temperately discussed and finally conceded. Lord 
Clare rested his main objection to an Irish Parlia- 
ment on the question of Regency, and on the 
religious animosities which existed, destroying all 
social happiness and threatening the country with 
endless contests. His speech was a sort of Irish 
history, a collection of her calamities and civil 
broils, distressing to hear, and delivered with a 



discreditable purpose, full of misstatement, mis- 
representation, and calumny; abusing the Irish, 
assailing- the Catholics, flattering the English, and 
aspersing the brightest passages of Irish history ; 
he attacked Lord Downshire and Lord Charle- 
mont for the letter they had issued, and he in- 
veighed against Mr. Grattan and the party with 
whom he had acted ; this ill-judged and censu- 
rable display was published in a pamphlet of up- 
wards of 100 pages. 

Mr. Grattan having been so pointedly alluded 
to, thought proper to reply to it, and he did so in 
one of his ablest and best productions ;* he de- 
fended the character of his countrymen, exposed 
the unjust charges brought against them, and 
drew a most interesting and eloquent description 
of his early friends, in a manner that does j ustice 
to their memory, and deserves to be recorded to 
their latest posterity. The subjoined is an ex- 
tract : — 

Mr. Mai one, Lord Pery, late Lord Shannon, Duke of 
Leinster, the Mr. Ponsonbys, Mr. Brownlovv, Sir William 
Osborne, Mr. Burgh, Mr. Daly, Mr. Yelverton, Mr. Ogle, 
Mr. Flood, Mr. Forbes, Lord Charlemont, and myself; I 
follow the author through the graves of these honourable 
dead men, for most of them are so ; and I beg to raise up 
their tombstones, as he throws them down ; I feel it more 
instructive to converse with their ashes, than with his com- 

Mr. Malone, one of the characters of '53, was a man of 
the finest intellect that any country ever produced. et The 
three ablest men I have ever heard, were Mr. Pitt (the 
father), Mr. Murray, and Mr. Malone ; for a popular 
assembly I would choose Mr. Pitt ; for a privy council, 
Murray ; for twelve wise men, Malone." This was the 
opinion which Lord Sackville, the secretary of ? 53, gave 
of Mr. Malone to a gentleman from whom I heard it. 
" He is a great sea in a calm," said Mr. Gerrard Hamil- 

* It will be found in the volume of Mr. Grattan's Miscellaneous 
Works, page 96, collected by the author ; also in D. Madden's select 
speeches of Grattan in the appendix. 



ton, another great judge of men and talents; " Aye," it 
was replied, " but had you seen him when he was young, 
you would have said he was a great sea in a storm and 
like the sea, whether in calm or storm, he was a great pro- 
duction of nature. 

Lord Pery, he is not yet canonized by death ; but he, 
like the rest, has been canonized by slander. He was 
more or less a party in all those measures which the 
pamphlet condemns, and indeed in every great statute 
and measure that took place in Ireland for the last fifty 
years ; a man of the most legislative capacity I ever knew, 
and the most comprehensive reach of understanding I ever 
saw ; with a deep engraven impression of public care, 
accompanied by a temper which was tranquillity itself, 
and a personal firmness that was adamant ; in his train, is 
every private virtue that can adorn human nature. 

Mr. Brownlow, Sir William Osborne, I wish we had more 
of these criminals; the former seconded the address of 
'82 ; and in the latter and in both, there was a station 
of mind that would have become the proudest senate in 

Mr. Flood, my rival, as the pamphlet calls him — and I 
should be unworthy the character of his rival, if in his 
grave I did not do him justice — he had his faults, but he 
had great powers ; great public effect; he persuaded the 
old, he inspired the young ; the Castle vanished before 
him; on a small subject he was miserable; put into his 
hand a distaff, and, like Hercules, he made sad work of 
it; but give him the thunderbolt, and he had the arm of a 
Jupiter; he misjudged when he transferred himself to the 
English Parliament ; he forgot that he was a tree of the 
forest, too old and too great to be transplanted at fifty ;* 
and his seat in the British Parliament is a caution to the 
friends of Union to stay at home, and make the country of 
their birth the seat of their action. 

Mr. Burgh, another great person in those scenes, which 
it is not in the little quill of this author to depreciate. He 
was a man singularly gifted — with great talent ; great 
variety ; wit, oratory, and logic ; he too had his weakness ; 
— but he had the pride of genius also ; and strove to raise 
his country along with himself ; and never sought to build 
his elevation on the degradation of Ireland. 

• Mr. Grattan was an exception to his own rule, being fifty-nine 
when he entered the Imperial Parliament. 



I moved an amendment for a free export ; he moved a 
better amendment, and he lost his place; I moved a de- 
claration of right ; " with my last breath will I support the 
right of the Irish Parliament/' was his note to me when I 
applied to him for his support ; he lost the chance of re- 
covering his place, and his way to the seals, for which he 
might have bartered. The gates of promotion were shut 
on him, as those of glory opened. 

Mr. Daly, my beloved friend — he, in a great measure, 
drew the address of '79, in favour of our trade ; that " un- 
gracious measure and he saw, read, and approved of the 
address of '82, in favour of constitution ; that address of 
(i separation he visited me in my illness, at that mo- 
ment, and I had communication on those subjects with 
that man, whose powers of oratory were next to perfec- 
tion ; and whose powers of understanding, I might say, 
from what has lately happened, bordered on the spirit of 

Mr. Forbes, a name I shall ever regard, and a death I 
shall ever deplore— enlightened, sensible, laborious, and 
useful — proud in poverty, and patriotic, he preferred exile 
to apostacy, and met his death. I speak of the dead, I 
say nothing of the living, but that I attribute to this con- 
stellation of men, in a great measure, the privileges of your 
country ; and I attribute such a generation of men to the 
residence of your Parliament. 

The ministers of the crown, who, in the times related 
by the pamphlet, did the king's business, were respectable 
and able men ; they supported sometimes acts of power, 
but they never, by any shocking declaration, outraged the 
constitution ; they adjusted themselves to the idea of liberty, 
even when they might have offended against the principle, 
and always kept on terms of decency with the people and 
their privileges ; least of all did they indulge in a terma- 
gant vulgarity, debasing, to a plebeian level, courts and 
senates, and mortgaging Irish infamy on a speculation of 
British promotion. 

In the list of injured characters, I beg leave to say a few 
words for the good and gracious Earl of Charlemont ; an 
attack not only on his measures, but on his representative, 

* This alludes to a dinner party in Mr. Hobart's time, when Lord 
Clare grew gay, and declaimed violently against the Union. After he 
left the company, Daly said, " That little fellow would vote for it to- 



makes his vindication seasonable ; formed to unite aristo- 
cracy and the people, with the manners of a court and the 
principles of a patriot, with the flame of liberty and the 
love of order, unassailable to the approaches of power, of 
profit, or of titles, he annexed to the love of freedom a 
veneration for order, and cast on the crowd that followed 
him the gracious shade of his own accomplishments, so 
that the very rabble grew civilised as it approached his 
person ; for years did he preside over a great army with- 
out pay or reward ; and he helped to accomplish a great 
revolution, without a drop of blood. 

Let slaves utter their slander, and bark at glory which 
is conferred by the people ; his name will stand ; — and 
when their clay shall be gathered to the dirt to which they 
belong, his monument, whether in marble, or in the hearts 
of his countrymen, shall be consulted as a subject of sor- 
row, and a source of virtue. 

Should the author of the pamphlet pray, he could not 
ask for his son a greater blessing than to resemble the 
good Earl of Charlemont; nor could that son repay that 
blessing by any act of gratitude more filial, than by com- 
mitting to the flames his father's publications.* 

* The character of Mr. Yelverton was here omitted ; perhaps the 
Union, that blot upon his fame, was the cause. Mr. G rattan how- 
ever, did not forget him, and long after the passions of the day had 
passed, he alluded to his countryman in the following remarkable man- 
ner, in the debate on the Roman Catholic question, on the 25th of May, 
1808, alluding to the penal code, Mr. Grattan said, " It was detailed by 
the late Lord Avonmore — I heard him — his speecli was the whole of the 
subject, and a concatenated and inspired argument not to be resisted ; 
it was the march of an elephant, it was the wave of the Atlantic, a 
column of water three thousand miles deep. lie began with the Catho- 
lic at his birth, he followed him to his grave; he showed that in every 
period he was harassed by the law — the law stood at his cradle, it 
stood at his bridal bed, and it stood at his coffin." 

The speech that Mr. Grattan here eulogizes was made by Mr. 
Yelverton in favour of the Catholics in 1782, when the laws were re- 
laxed ; no trace of it remains. 



Proceedings in the British Parliament on the Union. — Sheridan's exer- 
tions against it. — Lord Downshire on the offers to him from Govern- 
ment. — Lord Camden on the torture in Ireland. — Description of the 
Government supporters in the Irish Parliament in the Lower House. 
— St. George Daly, William Smith, Luke Fox, Robert Johnson, all 
created judges for their votes. — Society of the Monks of the Screw. — 
Dr. Frederick Jebb. — Johnson promoted.— Curran's great eulogium 
on Lord Avonmore. — Anecdote of him by Curran. — Dr. Arthur 
Browne killed by the Union. — In the upper House, Lord Pery, Lord 
Carleton, Lord Rilwarden, Lord Avonmore. — Anecdote of, by Curran. 
— His last speech in the House alluding to Mr, Grattan. — Lord Cas- 
tlereagh. — His character and conduct. — Motion of Mr. O'Donnell that 
the placemen should go to the Lord Lieutenant with the address on 
the Union. — List of them. — Union Bill read a second time. — Mr. 
Gratlan's speech. — Encomium on him by Mr. Burrowes. — Motion 
that the Union Bill be burned. — Bill passed the 7th of June. — Re- 
ceives the Royal Assent on the 1st of August. — Speeches against the 
Union bought by Lord Castlereagh and burned. 

The proceedings in the British Parliament merit 
attention. In the preceding year both Houses 
had voted an address to his Majesty recommend- 
ing a Union, and, in 1800, the subject was again 
brought forward by Mr. Pitt, who carried his re- 
solutions in favour of the Union. On the 11th 
of April Lord Grenville moved an address to the 
King, approving of these resolutions, and praying 
that they should be transmitted to the Parliament 
of Ireland. This was seconded by Lord Auck- 
land (Mr. Eden) and passed; and on the 21st of 
April, Mr. Pitt moved and carried the question 
for a committee on the subject. It was opposed 
by Mr. Sheridan,* Doctor Lawrence, and Mr. 

* During this struggle Sheridan displayed great boldness, spirit, and 
national feeling ; he brought forward motion after motion in behalf of his 



(afterwards Lord) Grey, who proposed an address 
to his Majesty, urging that all proceedings might 
be suspended until the sentiments of the Irish 
people upon the subject had been ascertained. 
This was lost on division by 30 to 206. On the 
21st of April Lord Grenville proposed a similar 
committee in the Lords, in which he moved the 
three first articles of Union. On a division there 
were 82 for, and only three against his motion — 
Lords Derby, Holland, and King. On the 22nd, 
Mr. Pitt, after reading a letter of the Duke of 
Portland's in 1782, by which he sought to prove 
that the settlement of '82 was not final, moved 
that the House should concur with the Lords' 
address on the subject of the Union. Mr. Dou- 
glas (afterwards Lord Glenbervie) made a long 
speech in support of it. Sir Francis Burdett op- 
posed it, — he said that one individual (Mr. Fox) 
had been driven in despair from the councils of 
the kingdom, to whom alone the Irish would have 
listened. Colonel FitzPatrick asserted (from his 
own knowledge, as he had been secretary in Ire- 
land at the time) that the letter of the Duke of 
Portland's, read by Mr. Pitt, was not a public 
paper, but a private note of his own, written with- 
out concert with any of his council, and had refe- 
rence merely to commercial arrangements (this 
was the fact}. The motion was agreed to. 

Such were the proceedings of the British Par- 
liament, whose right to interfere with the affairs 
of Ireland Mr. Pitt had, on former occasions, 

country, in opposition to Mr. Pitt, but he met with little support ; he was 
arguing against the interests of the audience he addressed, and against the 
feelings of the people among whom he lived. The love of gain and the 
love of power were the principles he had to combat, and the result may be 
easily imagined; all his propositions on behalf of Ireland were unsuc- 
cessful ; but his conduct did him honour, and the event has justified his 
foresight, for after the lapse of near half a century, the increasing hos- 
tility to the Union audits complete failure have confirmed his predictions 
and refuted those of Mr. Pitt. 



strongly denied. In 1797 and 1798, he main- 
tained that Ireland was a free and independent 
nation, and that England could not, with pro- 
priety, and ought not, to interpose in any way in 
her concerns. At the period of the disturbances, 
consequent on the cruelties practised in that 
country, a motion had been made by Lord Moira, 
on behalf it may be said of humanity, when he 
and other humane individuals strove by English 
help to stop the effusion of blood,* Mr. Pitt and 
his party asserted that the British Parliament had 
no right to interpose — then it was that the voice, 
as well as the arm, of Britain was stayed, and 
could not be raised in order to rescue the suffer- 
ing Irish from the lash, the torture, and the tri- 
angle : she was powerless then, and could not 
protect the humble mansion of the Irish peasant 
from the violations committed by the legal robber, j* 
the furious Orangeman, the midnight assailant. 
British mercy was then deaf to Irish sufferings, 
Irish injury, and Irish insult. But when it be- 
came an object to destroy a constitution which, 
by treaty, England was bound to uphold, then the 
right, the power, the necessity, for British inter- 
ference arose, and where virtue had been deaf be- 
fore and humanity dormant — interest and ambi- 
tion now prevailed, and even vice lost all her de- 
formity. But, in sooth, the non-interference in 
1798 and 1799 was a delusion. The chief gover- 

* When Lord Grenville, on the 19th of March, brought forward re- 
solutions on the subject of the Union, he was opposed by Lords Fitz- 
william and Moira, who stated that the whipping and torturing prac- 
tised in Ireland had driven the people into rebellion. Lord Camden 
defended his Government, and denied that unnecessary excesses were 
committed, but used these remarkable expressions, " that the measures 
of the Government had caused the rebellion to break out sooner than it 
otherwise would." 

f Read " Bryan Byrne of Glemnalure" a heart-rending little poem 
by Mrs. Henry Tighe. The facts were related to John Blachford, her 
brother. Pysche, p. 281, 3rd edition. 



nors of Ireland, and the military authorities, were 
nominees and creatures of the English ministers : 
the Peers and Commons, who passed the laws 
which encouraged and indemnified the crimes of 
which Lord Moira complained, were English servi- 
tors or English pensioners — neither representing 
Irish feelings, nor elected by the Irish people. The 
legalised abominations of '98 were the fruits of 
English interference, though using Irish tools ; for 
every thing but humanity and justice England's 
Minister had interfered in 1798.* 

Few of the supporters of Government were men 
of talent. The ablest was St. George Daly:| lie 
was brother to the celebrated Denis Daly who had 
acted a noble part in 17S2. In some degree he 
resembled him, but was of a coarser clay : he made 
the best speech in favour of the Union, and 
showed that he was of the same blood. He was 
distinguished when a member of the University of 
Dublin, by his application and ability : his under- 
standing was strong : he w r as conversant with 
books, and not devoid of some powers of reasoning, 
but was of a retired habit and unpopular manners. 
Though he succeeded Mr. Fitzgerald as prime 
sergeant, yet he had no excuse in voting for the 
Union. He had a name — and he sold it : other 

* In the debate on the 8th of May, Lord Downshire, who had a seat 
in the Parliament of both countries, said, that many offers and induce- 
ments were held out to him in order to gain his assent to the measure ; 
but he scorned the offers as much as he laughed at the tyrannical 
injustice which he had suffered for his perseverance. Since 1782 
Ireland had increased in wealth, and made great improvements. Go- 
vernment were bringing about, not a Union, but a Revolution ; it 
would produce distraction, discontent, rebellion, and ultimately sepa- 

Two very lucrative offices in the Law Courts, which were settled in 
reversion on the Downshire family, were taken from them and given to 
Yelverton for supporting the Union. His name was erased from the 
Privy Council, he was removed from the Governorship of the county, 
he was deprived of the command of the Downshire Militia, and he was 
displaced from the office of Registrar in the Court of Chancery. 

f He was appointed one of the judges of the King's Bench. 



[CHAP. V. 

men had nothing — but he had everything to sup- 
port — he had character : others had none, but he 
came to market with the splendid inheritance of 
good fortune and of great fame. 

William Smith was son of the Master of the 
Rolls, he could write but could not speak, he had 
a sour mind that could produce nothing, but he 
listened, and, unable to reply in the House, he 
retired to his chamber to brood over the subject, 
and, in a month after, produced a closely written 
pamphlet in reply to Mr. * * *, and Mr. * * *, 
and Mr. * * *'s speech on the Union, which he 
got printed and published at the expense of the 
Government. He did not exactly state what was 
malicious, but put it in such a manner as to let it 
state itself. He was full of caprice, his manner 
was pert, his mind was weak, and active only by 
corrosion. He was a mixture of honey and vine- 
gar. He had a sort of wormishness about him, 
and possessed much of the qualities of a serpent. 
He was never found guilty of uttering a good prin- 
ciple, but what he said, he affected to put in the 
form of a syllogism and of logic — the only thing he 
was liberal of, was his pen* — but his endless writ- 
ings produced no impression : it was the glow- 
worm's ineffectual fire — pale, cold, and weak.')" 

Mr. Luke Fox's J conduct was indefensible, he 
violated public and private duty, deserted his 
patron, abandoned his country, and, at the critical 
moment, suffered the scale to be turned against 
her at the expense of his honour and his vote. 
He was a coarse and clever lawyer, a strong mind 
that grasped the point, and took a firm hold of 

* At the end of his life he published a work called the Maze, a col- 
lection of poems and trifles, that certainly deserved the name he gave it, 
for it surprised all his friends by its childishness. 

T He regretted that he had voted for the Union, and in private stated 
so. He was appointed one of the Barons of the Exchequer. 

X He was appointed one of the Judges of the Common Pleas, 



what he had in view, but free from public prin- 
ciple, public honour, or public spirit of any kind 

Robert Johnson commenced his public life with 
credit, almost with celebrity ; he wrote in defence 
of the people and of the rights of Ireland, and he 
did so with boldness and with truth. There ap- 
peared, in 1779, under the signature of Guati- 
mozin, several letters, written in support of the 
armed volunteer associations, and the use of Irish 
manufacture, published in the Freeman's Jouma I ; 
these were reprinted in London, and went through 
several editions. Another series then appeared, un- 
der the title of Causidicus, in reply to judge Black- 
stone's doctrine on the Law of Conquest over Ire- 
land. They entered into the consideration of the 
various laws enacted in England against Ireland, 
and into the causes of Ireland's distress and po- 
verty. These works were conceived with spirit, 
written with ability, and met with complete suc- 
cess/" They deserved their fame, for they were 
clear, argumentative, and bold. The title of the 
first work was taken from Robertson's History of 

* In them occurs the often quoted passage : " Look to the word 
1 penalty' or the word 1 Ireland,' 'tis equal which, for you may 
track Ireland through the statute-book, as you do a wounded man 
through a crowd — by blood." 

He was one of the members of the society of St. Patrick or the Monks of 
the Screw. He often related to the author the extreme pleasure he met 
with in that meeting, when Lord Charlemont, Messrs. Daly, Yelverton, 
Burgh, Hardy, Grattan, Curran, Dr. Frederick Jebb, and many more of 
that party, were in the habit of assembling to arrange matters for debate 
in Parliament, for public proceedings and political tracts. He said, that 
he and Dr. Jebb had written Guatimozin and Causidicus. A short 
time after, Dr. Jebb was detached from the society, and solicited by 
Government to reply to a pamphlet of Mr. Grattan's against the Perpe- 
tual Mutiny Bill. After he had written the reply, which was not bad, 
some point and good personal attack, he got a pension of 300/. a year 
for his services ; he then went to Mr. Grattan, related the circumstance, 
and added that he had got the pension, but that the pamphlet could not 
be answered. For the names of the members, and a fuller account of this 
society, see the interesting and ably written Memoirs of Curran, by 
his son, second edition, Edinburgh, vol. iii. p. 122. 



[CHAP. V. 

America, where, in describing the contest between 
the Spaniards and the Mexicans, he says — " Guati- 
mozin continued to defend his capital with obsti- 
nate resolution and disputed every inch of ground. 
He rejected with scorn every overture from the 
Cortes, and, disdaining the idea of submitting to 
the oppressors of his country, determined not to 
survive its ruin." This passage, Robert Johnson 
used to repeat with great admiration, and seemed 
to glory in it as if it was not only his selection but 
composition. Yet these noble sentiments, so aptly 
quoted by him, were, unfortunately for his fame, 
totally obliterated from his memory in 1800. He 
listened to the overtures from the British Cortes, 
he did not defend his capital, but submitted to 
those whom he had in early life called the oppres- 
sors of his country. He seemed to complain of 
Lord Cornwallis for misrepresenting to him the 
sentiments of the Catholics, and thereby severing 
the Gordian knot that bound together the party of 
which he was a member, and who arrogated to 
themselves the power of turning the balance for or 
against the Union. Unfortunately, however, for 
Mr. Johnson's fame, the means used to effect this 
purpose was not with iron but with gold. John- 
son, by voting for the Union, got a seat upon the 
bench,* and sacrificed his reputation ; but even 
with this, he was not satisfied — he sought farther 
remuneration, and asked to get the salary of judge 
from the time the promise was made (perhaps the 
day he voted for the Union). This was refused 
by Government, unless he agreed to sign a paper 
in which he set forth his demand: considering this 
too bad he declined to comply. Vexed, irritated, 
and disgusted, he assailed the Government on the 
subject of Emmett's Insurrection, and published 

* He was appointed Judge of the Common Pleas, as was also, at a 
later period, his relation, William, one of those who, at the meeting of 
the bar in 1798, had supported the proposition of a Union. 



several letters under the signature of Juverna, in 
Cobbetts Register of November, 1803 — he was 
given up by Cobbett — prosecuted by Government 
— found guilty, arrested in Ireland, and about to 
be hurried off like a common felon to Great 
Britain, under an Act of Parliament passed sub- 
sequent to the publication, and it might be said 
almost for the purpose of meeting this case. The 
law proceedings of England were procrastinated 
by legal steps taken in the Irish Courts, which, in 
February 1805, gave Mr. Curran an opportunity 
of making, on behalf of Johnson,* one of his most 
eloquent and talented displays. 

* The passage from Mr. Curran's speech which is here submitted to 
the reader has been much admired and much criticised, some have cen- 
sured it as inapplicable, and therefore injudiciously introduced ; but it 
must be admitted that it is full of beauty and sentiment. Mr. Curran 
often alluded to it, and used to say — 

" Yelverton cried like a child at the judgment in Johnson's case. I 
" thought to move him by the recollection of those private scenes. I 
"thought he would have been melted down, and that by bringing to 
u his mind a view of former times, when we were both honest, both 
" good ; that he would have been led to give a spirited decision. I 
" was much interested, for 1 really wished that poor Avonmore would 
" have decided as I think he ought, and have done the country that 
"justice that I am confident was due. lie met me afterwards in the 

* chamber, and throwing his arms around me, exclaimed, 1 1 am glad 
" 4 to see you — you affected me greatly, and I am sure you fell what 

* ' you said — for my part the reconciliation is complete."' 

" I am not ignorant, my lords, that this extraordinary construction 
has received the sanction of another court, nor of the surprise and dis- 
may with which it smote upon the general heart of the bar. I am 
aware that I may have the mortification of being told in another country 
of that unhappy decision, and I foresee in what confusion I shall hang 
down my head when I am told it. But I cherish, too, the consolatory 
hope, that I shall be able to tell them that I had an old and learned 
friend, whom I would put above all the sweepings of their hall, who 
was of a different opinion ; who had derived his ideas of civil liberty 
from the purest fountains of Athens and Rome ; who had fed the 
youthful vigour of his studious mind with the theoretic knowledge of 
their wisest philosophers and statesmen; and who had refined the 
theory into the quick and exquisite sensibility of moral instinct, by 
contemplating the practice of their most illustrious examples ; by dwell- 
ing on the sweet souled piety of Cimon, on the anticipated Christianity 
of Socrates, on the gallant and pathetic patriotism of Epaminondas, on 
that pure austerity of Fabricius, whom to move from his integrity would 
have been more difficult than to have pushed the sun from his course, [ 
VOL. V *I 



[CHAP. V. 

The case was one of considerable hardship. 
The grand jury of Middlesex found a true bill, 
and Lord Ellenborough thereupon issued his war- 
rant to arrest the judge and bring him to England 
to give bail and stand his trial. This warrant was 
endorsed by a justice of the peace in Ireland, and 
Johnson was arrested. A writ of habeas corpus 
was immediately sued out, and seven judges 
assisted the chief justice in the case — three were 
for discharging him, three for remanding him, two 
did not give any opinion ; the case was referred 
to the King's Bench — -two were for remanding 
him, and Judge Day for discharging him. A new 
writ issued, returnable to the Exchequer — the 
case was argued for three days — Baron Smith 
alone was for his discharge. He was in conse- 
quence remanded, and the subject was brought 
before the Imperial Parliament ; but the only 
remedy afforded was the passing a bill to compel 
witnesses to attend in England. He petitioned 
the House of Lords, complaining of the ex post 
facto law which was passed after the alleged 

would add, that if he had seemed to hesitate, it was but for a moment; 
that his hesitation was like the passing cloud that floats across the 
morning sun, and hides it from the view, and does so for a moment 
hide it by involving the spectator without even approaching the face of 
the luminary : and this soothing hope I draw from the dearest and ten- 
derest recollections of my life, from the remembrance of those attic 
nights and those refections of the gods which we have spent with those 
admired and respected and beloved companions who have gone before 
us ; over whose ashes the most precious tears of Ireland have been 
shed : yes, my good lord, I see you do not forget them, I see their 
sacred forms passing in sad review before your memory; I see your 
pained and softened fancy recalling those happy meetings, when the 
innocent enjoyment of social mirth, expanded into the nobler warmth of 
social virtue ; and the horizon of the board became enlarged into the 
horizon of man ; when the swelling heart conceived and communicated 
the pure and generous purpose, when my slender and younger taper 
imbibed its borrowed light from the more matured and redundant foun- 
tain of yours. Yes, my lord, we can remember those nights without 
any other regret than that they can never more return, for 
" We spent them not in toys, or lust or wine ; 

But search of deep philosophy, 

Wit, eloquence, and poesy, 
Arts, which I lov'd, for they, my friend, were thine." 



libel was published, but Lord Eldon (the Chan- 
cellor) would grant no other relief except his 
assent to the bill. The action was tried in Eng- 
land, in November, 1805, and turned on a ques- 
tion of handwriting — four witnesses swore the 
paper was in the handwriting of the judge, five 
witnesses swore it was not, the English jury be- 
lieved the four, disbelieved the five, and found 
Johnson guilty. It afterwards appeared they 
were wrong, as the writing was not that of the 
Judge, but of his daughter, a talented and spirited 
lady, who, in consequence, was known ever after 
by the name of Juvema. On the whole it was an 
oppressive and tyrannical proceeding, and did not 
lead Johnson to fall more in love with the Union 
he had voted, but rather led him to think that the 
men he had sold his country to were most unre- 
lenting taskmasters. However, in Trinity term 
1806, a noli prosequi was entered on the record, 
the Judge was permitted to retire from the Bench 
on a pension for life, and in that retirement 
he ended those days that were brighter at their 
commencement than at their close. He seemed 
to regret his conduct at the Union, but he was 
too proud openly to confess it. 

Doctor Arthur Browne was the most gentle- 
manlike of all that party, he had spoken and voted 
against the Union in 1799, but in 1800 he changed 
sides and joined with those who supported it. If 
he had any apology for selling the country, it was 
that he did not belong to her — for he was was not 
an Irishman. Yet he should have been attached 
to liberty — for he was an American. He was 
member for the University of Dublin: he was a 
man of taste and acquirements, and a lover of 
literature. As a speaker he was not deficient: he 
possessed a degree of ease and elegance of manner 
as well as mind, but he received his reward, for 
M 2 


he fell a victim to his vote. He found that the 
office he accepted was no compensation for his 
loss of honour: he repented his conduct, but his 
regret came too late, and he died of a broken 

The rest were mercenaries, soldiers, bravoes, or 

In the upper House, Ireland could number few 
supporters. Lord Perry still lived, and to the last 
upheld the character with which he began life, 
and preserved, undiminished, his affection for his 
country — but age and infirmity had incapacitated 
his body, though not his mind. " I never will 
give my assent to a measure which seals the ruin 
of my country. I am at present in a bad state of 
health, and, should I continue so, and the measure 
be brought forward, I shall have myself carried in 
a litter to the House, there to give it every opposi- 
tion in my power." These were his words — noble 
words ! — worthy of the Greek and Roman name. 

But Lord Clare still remained — still ruled the 
House — talkative, bold, and imperious. 

Lord Carletonf was miserable, feeble, and timid, 
though civil and gentlemanlike ; he had read some 
books, and he strove to give his speech at the 
Union the form of an argument, in order that 
some persons might imagine that he could reason ; 
but his production was like his mind — weakness 
personified. He showed great sharpness at the 

* He was well acquainted with Mr. Grattan, and used to visit Tinne- 
hinch, but he forfeited the regard that Mr. Grattan entertained towards 
him. Their acquaintance, however, continued. 

f See the anecdote of Curran, ante, vol. iii. page 422. 

He was superannuated and allowed to retire on a pension, he went to 
England, and for a number of years lived in London in the greatest 
gaiety and in excellent health ; thus it was not only the money levied 
off the people and paid down at the time that was a charge on the state, 
but these bribes were a heavier tax on the people and of longer dura- 
tion; some pensions were for life, others in expectancy, in promise, or 
in reversion. 

CHAP. V.] 



state trials : he was cool and collected, and not 
influenced by the fury and passion of the times — 
but he was by his fears. He was a poor character: 
his argument was that the Commons had no power 
over the representatives — that a supreme power 
must exist somewhere. The third Estate he as- 
sumed to be the House of Commons, and not the 
Commons, and that the latter had no power, but 
gave up all (by that election) over those whom 
they elected. And this monstrous ignorance 
Carleton put forward and recommended by an 
appearance of knowledge. 

Arthur Wolfe (Lord Kihvarden) was the son of 
a distinguished conveyancer in Dublin, who was 
patronised by the leading citizens and the corpo- 
ration, got much business, and was brought forward 
through their means. He used to say that the 
House of Commons was too corrupt a place for 
him to enter, and that every man there was a 
rogue — so he sent in his son. 

Arthur had never applied his mind to politics, 
and could not even understand a political question. 
He was not deficient as a lawyer : he spoke with 
ability and was a sensible man, amiable in private 
and of a kind disposition, a mild and inoffensive 
character, grave and moral, but destitute of public 
principle, or popular tendencies, and without any 
pretension to eloquence. His defence of the 
doctrine of fiats and the practice of holding per- 
sons to excessive bail, as exercised by Lord Clon- 
mell in 1790, injured his reputation as a constitu- 
tional lawyer, and did not raise his character as 
an advocate. He spoke, however, rather in miti- 
gation than in defence, and seemed more to doubt 
than to decide, and it was this weak exhibition 
which drew from Mr. Ponsonby the galling re- 
mark — " that he was a very worthy man, but a 
miserable attorney-general." As Crown Prose- 



[chap. V. 

cutor he was not considered harsh, and as a judge 
he was considered mild, and was certainly honest 
— but as a member of Parliament he was an in- 
variable supporter of every measure of the Court. 
His office gave him some importance in the lower 
House, but in the upper he was nothing. He 
thought he would tranquillize every thing by the 
Union ; and that if Parliament was put down it 
would facilitate the working of Government, and 
because Parliament had opposed the jobs of the 
Court, and because he professed to love the con- 
stitution, he put down the Parliament. He is an- 
Qther proof that the possession of power is fatal to 
a weak man. 

Wolfe was a man who did mischief to nothing 
but his country. He succeeded Lord Carleton as 
solicitor-general in 1787, Lord Clare as attorney- 
general in 1789, and Lord Clonmell as chief jus- 
tice in 1798. His death was melancholy, and his 
humane disposition, evinced in his last and most 
trying moment, endears his memory. Mortally 
wounded by his assassins in 1803, he raised his 
head and exclaimed — " Let no man suffer for my 
death but on a fair trial, and by the laws of his 
country" — a noble and humane expression, though 
too lawyerly to be quite heroic. 

Lord Avonmore had sold his fame, and tarnished 
the lustre of his early life. For supporting the 
Union he got, for his relations, the places that 
were taken from the Downshire family for oppos- 
ing it; he had spoken admirably for the catholics 
in 1778, but no trace of his speech remains. He 
acted well at the period of the volunteers — well 
in '80 — well in '82 — well on Poynings law ; but 
he did not tell the truth when he said, in 1800, 
that he had the Union in his mind in 1782. It 
was no such thing, he never mentioned the sub- 
ject, he did not even dream of it, and if he had, 

CHAP. V.] 



he would not have dared to utter such mischievous 
folly. Mr. G rattan knew the entire party, and 
directed their proceedings, and no idea of the sort 
was ever stated — it would not have been tolerated 
for an instant. These idle visions were reserved 
for the insincerity of the Duke of Portland, and 
the " bonnic" servility of Mr. William Ogilvie.* 

Lord Avonmore was driven by the minister, and 
in fact was afraid of him. He had not bold- 
ness to stand up against Lord Clare, in the case of 
Pamela and Edward Fitzgerald — he was com- 
pletely cowed. Mr. Curran, who was their 
counsel against the bill then before the Lords, 
applied to Lord Avonmore, and during the argu- 
ment, went behind the throne to converse with 
him on the subject, but he in vain sought to rouse 
his feelings and his spirit ; and though Avonmore 
knew that Lord Clare was wrong as to the law 
in the case of the attainder,-)" yet he was afraid to 
say so, or express, even on a point of law, a 
different opinion. 

The speech that he made in favour of the 
Union has nothing in it. No trace of 1782 — the 
lamp that burned so brightly then was now no 
more ; and all that can be said is, that when it 
became extinct, it did not become offensive; it 
cast a pale and flickering gleam around — then 
sunk for ever. But even his flattering compli- 
ment to his early friend (Mr. Grattan)+ can, for 

* See vol. ii. page 234, where Mr. Ogilvie's conduct is mentioned ; 
he was a shrewd Scotchman, who strove to whisper about a Union in 
'82; but the union he valued most, was that with the Duchess of 
Leinster, in which, to the surprise of every one, he ultimately suc- 

t The attainder was reversed many years afterwards by the Liverpool 
(1819) Administration, and its illegality was a matter of astonishment 
to the lawyers of the day. — See ante. 

X The following was the allusion that he made to Mr. Grattan: "I 
have lived to see an illustrious friend of mine at one time idolized as a 
deity, and at another disfranchised as a traitor; the act of an intempe- 
rate corporation whose censure could no more depreciate, than their 



[CHAP. V- 

such a character, afford but a poor apology. This 
speech, which was such a bitter reflection on his 
splendid name, his former services, and all his 
ancient glories, he was actually compelled by the 
minister to print and publish. He submitted to 
the ignominy, though not without reluctance, and, 
as Curran somewhat coarsely but truly said, when 
alluding to this circumstance — " Oh ! poor Yelver- 
lon ! he was forced to go to market with his bastard 
in his arms." 

Throughout these pages enough has already 
been said of Lord Castlereagh, — still it may be of 
service to posterity, as well as a caution to those 
who come after, if his character is summed up in 
a few words more. It may be added that he was 
a corrupt man and a most profligate minister, de- 
void of any political principle whatever, fie was 
cold-blooded, cruel, false, and hollow. He must 
have heard the lash and seen the triangles, but he 
shut his eyes, and closed his ears, and let the 
bloody work go on, and the backs of his fellow- 
countrymen quiver beneath the torture. He had 
no heart — he had no humanity : and as he sat 
within the Castle Walls, his mind could brood on 
nothing but the mischief he meditated for his 
country. He abandoned his early principles — 
he deserted his early friends — he arrested and im- 

applause could enhance, the value of a character which will always 
sustain itself. I have lived, and am proud to say it, in habits of* inti- 
macy with him ; and know him to be as incapable of engaging in any 
plan for separating this country from Great Britain, as the most strenuous 
advocate for the present measure. If there be any young man within 
hearing, who feels himself enamoured of popularity, I shall beg leave to 
give him a short lesson of instruction. Let him keep himself for ever 
engaged in the pursuit of some unattainable object; let him make the 
impracticability of his measures the foundation of his fame; but let 
him beware how he follows any solid or possible good, for as sure as 

he succeeds his fame is d d for ever. Success will only call up 

some envious swaggerer who will undertake to go a bar's length beyond 
him, and snatch away from him the worthless prize of popular estima- 
tion." These were the last words of Lord Baron ^elverton in the 
House of Lords in Ireland. 

CHAP. V.] 



prisoned his ablest supporter : all his popular airs 
•were assumed, he never felt them, nor did he ever, 
either in public or private, express or betray a 
single popular sentiment. He was brought up in 
England, and bred a cold politician : he was a 
man of business, and so far he was able, but he 
never did, or was capable of doing, a great act. 
He was just suited for the lower stage of politics, 
and in that he excelled and gained credit, for the 
inferior line is often of more apparent use than the 
higher. He was afflicted with an itchy desire to 
be impertinent, and he only spoke well when he 
had his friends about him, a large army at his 
back, and a broken-down insurrection in his front. 
He had a clear head, and' could state the pro- 
perties and balance of things well ; he possessed 
also a power of attack, and had a personal and 
gentlemanlike satire, but he had no luminous ideas 
and never enlightened a subject: his sentences 
were endless ; tropes without form or figure, or 
imagination, or prosody, or grammar. But what 
countervailed with Pitt all his defects, and ren- 
dered him a strong implement of oppression, was 
his indomitable, unsurpassed, inscrutable reso- 

In 1790, he became acquainted with the po- 
pular party in the north of Ireland ; amongst 
them was Samuel Neilson, who possessed a good 
deal of influence there, and who conducted the 
Northern Star, a paper of republican principles. 
On the 16th April in that year (the anniversary 
of the independence of Ireland in 1782), he 
attended the great Whig club dinner at Belfast, 
with Dr. Halliday, Lord Londonderry, and others 
of that party; he drank their popular toasts, 
some of those of the United Irishmen, and 
availed himself of all these circumstances, these 
men, and their politics to get into Parliament. 



[chap. V. 

Yet afterwards, in 1799, he went with Mr. Pol- 
lock, Lord Downshire, and a large party, to arrest 
this Neilson, his former acquaintance and his 
chief supporter, and cast him into prison, where 
he remained for upwards of fourteen months 
without charge, without accusation, without trial, 
■ — injured his health, impaired his character, de- 
stroyed his fortune,* and finally, was the means 
of costing him not only his liberty but his life. 
Having abandoned his friends, and played this 
treacherous and infamous part, Castlereagh began 
the trade of bribery. So early as 1796, he had 
tried to gain over Mr. Hardy: he requested of 
Mr. Berwick, with whom he was acquainted, to 
communicate to Mr. Hardy, that if he would 
agree not to speak or to vote for the Roman Ca- 
tholic question, he would get a considerable 
situation under Government. Berwick replied 
that such a thing was impossible ; that Hardy 
would never listen to such a proposal ; and be- 
sides, he was a great friend of Lord Granard, 
who was in opposition. Castlereagh then said — 
" Let him vote with Lord Granard on all other 
questions, but let him remain quiet on the Roman 
Catholic!!!" Berwick being thus pressed, re- 
lated the conversation to Hardy, who at once 
revolted at it, and spurned the proposal. He 
tried this corrupt office in the north, and was ac- 
tually turned out of Sir John Blackwood's house for 
offering to bribe him.-\ The same disgrace befel 
him in the residence of another equally spirited 
individual in the same county. % In the year 
1799, he showed considerable stoutness, and re- 
plied fiercely to George Ponsonby ; however, he 

* See Dr. Madden's United Irishmen, vol. i. second series, 
f See ante, vol. iv. page 432 ; the anecdote is related by the Black- 
wood family. 
X Supposed to be Mr. Savage or Mr. Ford. 



found iteasierto bribe than to bully, and in the next 
year he was milder. In 1800, when Mr. Grattan 
returned to Parliament, Lord Castlereagh alluded 
to him, and Mr. Grattan replied rather sharply, 
contrasting his conduct then with what it had 
been in early times ; he read the toasts and sen- 
timents that he had expressed in the county of 
Down, and pressed him sorely for having deserted 
his principles : the other replied, that "as to any 
thing personal, he would not take notice of it in 
the House yet he did not take notice of it 
out of the House, nor did he ever come forth in 
anyway, but remained passive under the rebuke ; 
however, it must be admitted that he was not 
devoid of personal courage. Before the Union, 
he negotiated with the Catholics, thinking them 
fit to be admitted into Parliament, and he after- 
wards opposed them, —thus, he used Emancipa- 
tion as a means to obtain the Union, and, having 
passed the Union, he cheated the Catholics out 
of it. 

When he went to England,* he displayed cou- 
rage in the personal affair with Mr. Canning. 
When he went to the Congress at Vienna, he 
found the business beyond his capacity, and was 
quite unequal to the situation ; he could scarcely 
speak the French language ; had he been an able 
man, he could have obtained great commercial 
advantages for England, and better terms for the 
people of the Continent ; he would have procured 
the abolition of the slave trade, instead of leaving 
it unnoticed in the treaty with France, and to be 
purchased by a sum of money from the Court of 
Spain. Had Lord Chatham or Mr. Fox been there, 
it would have been different. He got credit at 
Court for servile obedience to the Crown, and 
became Minister because he fell into the track of 

* The English cannot forget that memorable phrase, "The ignorant 



Mr. Pitt's politics, that happened to be success- 
ful. The greatest reflection on his political oppo- 
nents was, that such a man could become popular, 
and the greatest disgrace to the age was, that a 
country like England should have been defended 
by such a character. But Providence, inscrutable 
in her ways, and wise in all her works, reserved 
him for a lasting example to mankind. This man 
commenced his career by taking away the lives of 
his fellow countrymen — he concluded it by taking 
away his own ; and with his own hand he termi- 
nated his existence* and avenged his country. 

The proceedings respecting the Union now 
drew quickly to a close. On the 21st May the 
resolutions were reported to the House, and Lord 
Castlereagh moved to bring in the Union Bill. 
This, after much debate, was carried by 160 to 
100. Major Osborne, Charles Ball, and Mr. Pon- 
sonby opposed it ; Sir Henry Cavendish and the 
Right Han. David La Touche supported it. Mr. 
Goold concluded a speech of much talent and 
energy with the following prophetic words : — 

I know the ministers must succeed — hut I will not go away 
with an aching heart — because I know that the liberties of 
the people must ultimately triumph. The people must at 
present submit, because they cannot resist 120,000 aimed 
men. JBut the period will occur, when, as in 1782, England 
may he iceak, and Ireland sufficiently strong to recover her 
lost liberties ! ! 

On the 22nd a message came from the Lords, 
stating they had agreed to the Articles of Union, 
and requesting the concurrence of the Commons 
on the subject, which was carried on debate by 
67 to 37. On the next day Lord Castlereagh 
moved that the House should depute certain of 
the members to wait upon the Lord Lieutenant 
with the address in its favour, upon which Mr. 

* There were circumstances said to have been connected with this 
act, that are too shocking to mention. 



O'Donnell moved as an amendment that the 
generals, staff-officers, placemen, and pensioners, 
members of that House, should go up with it; 
namely : — 

John Staples, member for Antrim, Examinator of Customs, and who has 
a pension. 

William Arthur Crosbie, member for Trim, Steward of the Household, 
Customer and Comptroller of Wexford, Commissioner of Stamp 

Sir Boyle Roche, member for Old Leighlin, Gentleman Usher. 

George Miller, member for Castlebar, Gentleman of the Bedchamber. 

Sir Chichester Fortescue, member for Trim, Ulster King-at-Arms. 

Edward Cooke, member for Old Leighlin, Under Secretary to the 
Civil Department, Keeper of the Phoenix Park, Customer of Kin- 
sale, and, in reversion, of the place of Clerk to the House of Com- 

William Elliott, member for St. Canicc, Under Secretary of Military 

Thomas Lindsay, member for Castlebar, Gentleman Usher of the Black 

Rod, Receiver General of Stamp Duties. 
Right Hon. John M. Mason, member for St. Canice, Commissioner of 


Right Hon. Lodge Morris, member for Dingle, Commissioner of Trea- 

Sir G. Shee, member for Knocktoper, Secretary to Treasury. 

Lord Loftus, member for Wexford, Teller of Exchequer. 

St. George Daly, member for Gal way, Prime Sergeant. 

John Stewart, member for Bangor, Solicitor-General. 

Henry Westenra, member for Monaghan, Seneschal of Manors. 

John Longfield, member for Mallow, Customer of Cork. 

Francis McNamara, member for Killybegs, Customer of Dingle. 

Stephen Moore, member for Kells, Accountant-General. 

William Knott, member for Taghmon, Commissioner of Appeals. 

William Wynne, member for Sligo, ditto, ditto. 

Patrick Dnigenan, member for Armagh, King's Advocate-General. 

Richard Herbert, member for Granard, Commissioner of Accounts. 

Thomas Burgh, member for Fore, ditto, ditto. 

Charles M. Ormsby, member for Duleek, Commissioner of Barracks. 
William Gore, member for Carrick, ditto, ditto. 
Denham Jephson, member for Mallow, Pensioner, 600/. per annum. 
George Hatton, member for Lisburn, Commissioner of Stamps. 
Maurice Fitzgerald, member for Kerry, Commissioner of Revenue. 
John Longfield, member for Cork, ditto, ditto. 
Richard Annesly, member for Middleton, ditto, ditto. 
John Townsend, member for Castle Martyr, ditto, ditto. 
Charles II. Coste, member for Queen's County, ditto, ditto. 
J. O. Vandeleur, member for Ennis, ditto, ditto. 
Hon. Walter Yelverton, member for Tuam, Cursitor of Chancery. 
C. Osborne, member for Carysfort, Counsel to Commissioners of Re- 

Hon. F. H. Hutchinson, member for Naas, Collector to Port of Dublin. 


Right Hon. Wm. Forward, member for John's Town, Treasurer to 

Post Office. 

Ponsonby Tottenham, member for Clonmines, Pension 300/. per annum. 
Sir John Blaquiere, member for New Town, Pension 2,231/. 85. lltf., 

per annum, Alnager of Ireland, Director of Paving Board, &c. 
Peter Holmes, member for Doneraile, Commissioner of Stamps. 
Hugh Howard, member for John's Town, ditto, ditto. 
Robert Johnson, member for Philip's Town, Counsel to Commissioners 

of Revenue. 

George Harrison Reed, member for Fethard, Surveyor of Wexford. 
Francis Leigh, member for Wexford, Collector of Dublin. 
James CufTe, member for Tulsk, Treasurer to Barrack Board. 
John Hobson, member for Clonakiity, Master of Stores. 
Col. R. Uniacke, member for Youghal, Surveyor General of Ordnance. 
H. Alexander, member for Londonderry, Chairman of Ways and 

Theophilus Jones, member for Leitrim, Pension, Revenue Establish- 

Lord Charles Fitzgerald, member for Ardfert, Muster-Master-General. 
Thomas Pakenham, member for Longford, Lieut. -Gen. of Ordnance. 
Richard Magennis, member for Carlingford, Clerk of Ordnance. 
Sir Henry Cavendish, member for Lismore, Receiver General of Re- 

Hon. John Jocelyn, member for Dundalk, Surveyor of Belfast. 
Hon. Henry Skeffington, member for Antrim, Governor of Cork. 
Hon. John Stratford, member for Baltinglass, Paymaster of Foreign 

Edmund Stanley, member for Lanesborough, Third Sergeant, and pen- 
sion of 400/. a year to his wife. 

Robert Tighe, member for Carrick, Comptroller Customs in Dublin. 

Walter Jones, member for Coleraine, compensation for payment of 
corn premiums coastways. 

T. Nesbit, member for Cavan, pensioner. 

Hon. A. Creighton, member for Lifford, Register of Forfeitures. 
General Nugent, member for Charleville, Adjutant- General. 
General Craddock, member for Thomas Town, Quarter-Master-Ge- 

General Eustace, member for Felthard, Governor of Ross Castle. 

General Gardiner, member for Knoctoper, Staff. 

General Lake, member for Armagh, ditto. 

General Hutchinson, member for City of Cork, ditto. 

General Dunne, member for Moreborough, ditto. 

General Henniker, member for Kildare, ditto. 

Stewart Bruce, member for Lisburn, Aide-de-Camp to Lord Lieutenant. 
Thomas Casey, member for Kilmallock, Commissioner of Bankrupts. 
Thomas Prendergast, member for Clonakiity, ditto. 

For this motion there were 18, against it, 50. 

On the 26th the Union Bill was read a second 
time, the numbers being 117 to 73. Mr. Grattan 
then moved that the 1st August should be substi- 
tuted for 31st May for the committee; for this 



the ayes were 87, the noes 124. On this debate 
Mr. Grattan, after a long speech, concluded by- 
saying :— 

From the bad terms which attend the Union, I am na- 
turally led to the foul means* by which it has been ob- 
tained — dismissals from office, perversion of the place bill, 
sale of peerage, purchase of boroughs, appointment of 
sheriffs with a view to prevent the meetings of freemen 
and freeholders, for the purpose of expressing their opinion 
on the subject of a Legislative Union — in short, the most 
avowed corruption, threats, and stratagems, accompanied 
by martial law, to deprive a nation of her liberty ; and so 
very great and beneficial have been the efforts, that his 
Majesty's Ministers have actually resorted to a partial dis- 
solution of Parliament, at the very time they declined to 
resort to a general election. The sense of Parliament and 
people was against them; they change, therefore, the 
Parliament without recurring to the people, but procure 
a number of returns, exceeding their present majority, from 
private boroughs vacated with a view to return a Court 
member, who should succeed a gentleman that would not 
vote for the Union. Here, then, is a Parliament made by 
the Minister, not the people, and made for the question. 
Under these circumstances, in opposition to the declared 
sense of the country, has been passed a measure imposing 
on the people a new constitution, and subverting the old 

The constitution may be for a time so lost ; the charac- 
ter of the country may be so lost; the Ministers of the 
Crown will, or may perhaps at length, find, that it is not 
so easy to put down for ever an ancient and a respectable 
nation, by abilities, however great, and by power and by 

• The bribery of Sir William Gleadowe Newcoman is described by 
Sir Jonah Barrington in his u Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation" Paris 
edition. In consequence of the deficiency in the Stamp Duties that 
appeared in the accounts of his father (who was one of the Receivers- 
General of Stamps), a large sum was due to the country, which Sir 
Jonah Barrington states at 20,000/., and which from the memorial pre- 
sented to Lord Cornwallis appears, with interest, to have amounted, at 
least, to 10,000/. Yet for this sum the Government chose to accept 
2,000/. and exonerate Sir William. The document settling this is regis- 
tered in the Rolls Office, Dublin, and bears the signature of the Attor- 
ney-General, J. Toler. In addition to this proceeding, the wife of the 
defaulter was created a peeress ! 



corruption, however irresistible. Liberty may repair her 
golden beams, and with redoubled heart animate the 
country. The cry of loyalty will not long continue against 
the principles of liberty. Loyalty is a noble, a judicious, 
and a capacious principle ; but in these countries loyalty, 
distinct from liberty, is corruption, not loyalty. 

The cry of the connection will not in the end avail 
against the principles of liberty. Connection is a wise 
and profound policy ; but connection without an Irish 
Parliament is connection without its own principle, without 
analogy of condition, without the pride of honour that 
should attend it, is innovation, is peril, is subjugation— 
not connection. 

The cry of disaffection will not in the end avail against 
the principle of liberty. 

Identification is a solid and imperial maxim, necessary 
for the preservation of freedom — necessary for that of em- 
pire; but without union of hearts — with a separate Go- 
vernment and without a separate Parliament — identifica- 
tion is extinction, is dishonour, is conquest — not identi- 

Yet I do not give up the country ; I see her in a swoon, 
but she is not dead. Though in her tomb she lies help- 
less and motionless, still there is on her lips a spirit of life, 
and on her cheek a glow of beauty. 

"Thou art not conquered; beauty's ensign yet 
Is crimson on thy lips and in thy cheeks, 
And death's pale flag is not advanced there." 

While a plank of the vessel sticks together, I will not 
leave her. Let the courtier present his flimsy sail, and 
carry the light bark of his faith with every new breath of 
wind — I will remain anchored here, with fidelity to the 
fortunes of my country, faithful to her freedom — faithful 
to her fall ! ! ! 

Can Ireland ever forget these words ? 

On this occasion Mr. Peter Burrowes having 
been alluded to by Lord Castlereagh, delivered a 
spirited and most able reply, and, after answer- 
ing the argument, he alluded to Mr. Grattan, on 
whom he passed the following beautiful pane- 
gyric :— 



I feel but little any portion of the noble Lord's (Castlc- 
reagh) obloquy which may attach to me or to my humble 
efforts, but I own I cannot repress my indignation at the 
audacious boldness of the calumny, which would asperse 
one of the most exalted characters which any nation ever 
produced, and that in a country which owes its liberties 
and its greatness to the energy of his exertions, and in the 
very house which has so often been the theatre of his 
glorious labours and splendid achievements. I remember 
that man the theme of universal panegyric, the wonder and 
the boast of Ireland for his genius and virtue : his name 
silenced the sceptic upon the reality of genuine patriotism: 
to doubt the purity of his motives was a heresy which no 
tongue dared to utter : envy was lost in admiration, and 
even those whose crimes he scourged, blended exalted 
praises with the murmurs of resentment. He covered our 
unfledged Constitution with the wings of talents, as the 
eagle covers her young, like her he soared, and like her 
he could behold the rays, whether of royal favour or royal 
anger, with undazzled, unintimidated eye. If, according: 
to Demosthenes, to grow with the growth and to decay 
with the decline of our country be the true criterion 
of a good citizen, how infinitely did this man, even in 
the moment of his lowest depression, surpass those up- 
start patriots who only become visible when their country 

Sir, there is something more singularly curious, and, ac- 
cording to my estimation of things, enviable in the fate of 
this great man — his character and his consequence are, as 
it were, vitally interwoven with the greatness of his country. 
The one cannot be high and the other low — the one cannot 
stand and the other perish. 

This was so well understood by those who have so long 
meditated to put down the Constitution of Ireland, that, 
feeling that they could not seduce, they have incessantly 
laboured to calumniate her most vigilant sentinel and 
ablest champion. They appealed to every unguarded 
prejudice, to every assailable weakness of a generous but 
credulous people, they watched every favourable moment 
of irritation or of terror to pour in the detested poison of 

Sir, it will be found on a retrospect of Ireland since 
1782, that her liberties never received a wound, that a cor- 
VOL. V. N 

178 lord corry's address to the king, [chap, v. 

respondent stab was not levelled at his character, and, 
when it was vainly hoped that his imperishable fame was 
laid in the dust, the times were deemed ripe for the ex- 
tinction of our Constitution. 

Sir, these impious labours cannot finally succeed, glory 
and liberty are not easily effaced, — Grattan and the Con- 
stitution will survive the storm. 

On the 6th of June Lord Corry moved an 
address to the King setting forth the entire of the 
Union proceedings, and recording therein the 
protest of the opposition and the people. It was 
an elaborate document, recapitulating the various 
points of the case and the injury likely to be 
felt by the country from the measure. It is 
printed at length in the Appendix. The numbers 
were 77 for and 135 against it. 

The report from the committee was then read 
and carried by 153 to 88. Further resistance 
was now in vain, the opposition being no longer 
able to defeat this measure, at length desisted 
from their labours, and, as Mr. Grattan expressed 
it, " Finding all useless, we retired with safe con- 
sciences but with breaking hearts." 

When it was moved that the bill be engrossed, 
Mr. O'Donnell, with a just and becoming indigna- 
tion, proposed that it should be burned. He 
was severely assailed for this, and at length was 
persuaded to withdraw the amendment, and on 
Saturday, the 7th June, the bill was read a third 
time, on the motion of Lord Castlereagh, and 
passed. It was brought to the House of Lords 
on the 11th, committed* on the 12th, by a 
majority of 76 to 17, and on the 1st August 
received the royal assent, and Ireland ceased to 
be a nation ! 

* It was introduced into the British House of Commons by Mr. Pitt, 
and sent to the Lords on the 24th of June, and received the Royal assent 
on the 2nd of July. 



What an hour of maddening agony was that to 
every patriot, but most to him who had so long- 
fostered and shielded the country which he then 
beheld stricken down, robbed, dishonoured, and 
mangled by a confederacy of aliens, traitors, and 
bullies ! 

Thus ended the Irish Parliament. Some sur- 
rendered it through fear of Jacobinism ; others 
through terror of the authorities ; others through 
fear of the Catholics ; others through bribery ; 
and others through delusive hopes. The English 
Government became alarmists ; the Irish corrupt 
and bigoted. The more that these circumstances 
are considered, the more it will appear that the 
efforts of these patriots were laudable in the 
highest degree, and that their conduct merited all 
the praise that belongs to virtuous actions. Let 
their names, then, never be obliterated from the 
remembrance of all who value freedom ! They 
had to contend against the overwhelming influence 
of a profligate court, against the corrupt satellites 
of a daring minister, against an army licensed, un- 
scrupulous, and at hand ; so that it is surprising 
that with such difficulties opposed to them, and 
with such bad materials, such a resistance could 
have been effected. Even their natural ally, the 
press, was intimidated or seduced. The news- 
papers were afraid to publish the proceedings of 
the times ; and the motion of Mr. O'Donnell, to 
burn the Union Bill, is not to be found in most of 
them. The reports of the debates were destroyed 
through the influence and bribery of the Govern- 
ment. The members of the Opposition had got 
their speeches written out and corrected : they 
were entrusted for publication to a person of the 
name of Moore. Mr. Foster* doubted his honesty, 
and cautioned the party against him, saying he 

* This anecdote the writer had from Mr. Foster (the Speaker). 
N 2 


was sure Moore would betray them. His predic- 
tions were verified, for they were sold to Govern- 
ment ; and Lord Castlereagh, by means of Mr. 
Cooke (Under Secretary), gave a large sum of 
money for them, and the manuscripts, speeches, 
pamphlets, &c. &c. were brought to the Castle and 
there burned. Thus perished some of the finest 
specimens of eloquence. 




iUr. Pitt's opinion favourable to domestic legislation in Ireland. — His 
letter to the Duke of Rutland. — Remarks on the Union. — Acquisi- 
tions for Ireland gained by the Irish Parliament. — Results of the 
Union. — Effect on the Trade, Commerce, and Revenues of the Coun- 
try. — Ireland became bankrupt. — Military force necessary for Ireland 
in 1782. — Forces kept up in 1840. — State of the people. — Parlia- 
mentary reports. — Destitute condition of the agricultural classes. — 
The speech and opinion of Mr. Fox on the Union. — Comparison be- 
tween Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox. — Their characters and their style of 

It was plain, from the proceedings of the Minister 
and his Parliament, that the system as It stood 
could not last. Parliament had been driven on to 
liberty by the bayonets of the Volunteers, and had 
acted by starts ; whereas the Government was 
always at work; so that the power of the Crown 
and its corruption were sure to increase to such a 
height that a Reform in Parliament or its destruc- 
tion must ensue. Of this state of things Mr. Pitt 
dexterously availed himself, and strove to get back 
for Great Britain the power she had surrendered ; 
and he effected this by the worst of means, — the 
most unlimited bribery and corruption. Vexed 
and offended with Ireland on account of her con- 
duct in 1785 on the Commercial Propositions, and 
in 1789 on the Regency, he had not forgiven her. 
He found her a great inconvenience, and felt it 
would be easier and more handy for him to have 
but one Parliament, instead of the trouble of two.* 

* It is worthy of remark that under the superintendence of this 
resident Parliament, the Debt of the Nation had diminished from 
2,477,425/. as it stood in 1789, to 2,219,694/. in the year 1793. 




This was the real and secret motive of his con- 
duct at the Union ; the strength of the empire 
was not his object ; he did not seek for or wish to 
secure it, for he left the Catholics excluded ; it 
was altogether a trick, and the trick of a dis- 
honest man. This the Irish should have seen, as 
the Scotch probably would, but Ireland was too 
much divided. Religious discord was the bane 
and the ruin of her prosperity ; but the Union 
was a question on which she should have made a 
stand, and all parties have united. It formed a 
good ground for separation from England. The 
nation should have refused to act under it; for it 
was not the piece of parchment that constituted 
the solidity of the measure, but the subsequent 
acquiescence of the people. They ought to have 
resisted, and gone to the leading lords, and have 
frightened them ; they could have done it easily ; 
a little of the Roman spirit, and a very few men, 
would have done it. Those heavy, dictatorial, 
empty, nobles would have shrunk — Lord Shannon 
would have shrunk — Lord Ely would have shrunk 
— Lord Clare would have shrunk; it was his na- 
ture; or if Lord Castlereagh (who would not 
have receded) had fallen, the measure in all pro- 
bability would not have been carried, or, if car- 
ried, the country would have been thrown on her 
metal and prepared for war. The corruption of the 
House, and the badness of the Parliament, was not 
the reason for its abolition. The institution was 
good, the body was on the spot, ready and attentive; 
neither was it the Place Bill of Mr. Forbes that 
caused it, nor the gross abuse of the nominal office 
of Escheatorship that caused it. It was Mr. Pitt,* 

* It does not appear that Mr. Pitt's policy towards Ireland was 
steady or consistent. The following extract from one of his letters, 
shows that, at the time, he was friendly to a reform in the Irish Parlia- 
ment, hostile in the extreme to the Roman Catholics, and adverse to 
the Union ; preserving, at the same time, a selfish mercantile spirit; it 




— his money, his martial law, his bribery,* his 
rebellion, his troops ; he kept them at a distance, 
but he kept them ready. One immediate result 
of the insurrection was, that not only the United 
Irishmen were put down, but all moderate men 
also ; they were awed, and afraid to act even in a 
constitutional way. However, it cannot be de- 
nied, that the main cause arose from the situation 
of the country. She was a nation without a 
people ; the Representation was that of indivi- 
duals, and was bought as a marketable commo- 
dity ; the majority of the people were not admit- 
ted into the Government of the country, and the 
formation of the Constitution did not remedy the 
defect. The people were not interested, and no 

will throw some light upon his character, and surprise many of Ins ad- 
mirers, though it will afford little satisfaction to the victims of his ill- 
judged policy towards Ireland. He writes to the Lord-Lieutenant as 
follows : — 

" I own to you the line to which my mind at present inclines (open 
to whatever new observations or arguments may be suggested to me), is 
to give Ireland an almost unlimited communication of commercial ad- 
vantages, if we can receive in return some security, that her strength and 
riches unM be our benefit, and that she will contribute from time to time 
in their increasing proportions to the common exigencies of the empire, 
and having, by holding out this, removed, I trust, every temptation to 
Ireland to consider her interest as separate from England ; to be ready 
while we discountenance wild and unconstitutional attempts which 
strike at the root of all authority, to give real efficacy and popularity to 
Government by acceding (if such a line can be good) to a prudent and 
temperate reform of' Parliament, which may guard against and gradually 
cure real defects and mischiefs, may show a sufficient regard to the in- 
terests and even prejudices of individuals who are concerned, and may 
unite the Protestant interest in excluding the Catholics from any shore in 
the Representation or the Government of the Country /" — Mr. Pitt's 
Letter to the Duke of Rutland, 7th October, 1784. 

In another letter he says that local prejudices and partial advantages 
should be relinquished to consult without d istinction for the general benefit 
of the empire.— " This cannot be done but by making England and Ire- 
land one country in effect, though for local concerns under distinct legis- 
latures, one in the communication of advantages ; if their unity is 
broken or rendered absolutely precarious, the system is defective and 
there is an end of the whole." — Unpublished Letter, 6th January, 

* Sir Jonah Barrington says in his history, that he read the dispatch 
from Mr. Pitt to Lord Cornwallis, desiring him not to press the Union 
unless he was certain of a majority of 50. 




people will ever fight for an abstract proposition 
of liberty. Hence it is almost a matter of sur- 
prise that England did not attempt the Union 
before. But another and a wiser course was 
open to her ; if, instead of rewarding Lord Clare 
with power and confidence in proportion to his 
offences, Mr. Pitt had punished him or discarded 
him, or even had not made him minister, as in 
1789, when he declared that the majority of the 
House of Commons had been bought formerly, 
and must be bought again — as in 1793, when he 
reprobated conciliation, and when he reviled the 
Catholic petition, which in effect his Majesty re- 
commended, and the bill which his Majesty ven- 
tured to espouse ; or when he declared that the 
Catholics must be determined enemies to his 
throne ; or in 1795, when he declared that he 
would make the Irish as tame as cats; or in 1797, 
when, as head of the University, he proposed 
illegal questions under an illegal oath, and com- 
pelled those who refused to submit and accuse 
themselves ; or in 1798, when he tolerated tor- 
ture, and justified the principle — had this been 
done; had Government discarded such a minister, 
there would have been no rebellion,* and no 
Union; but, instead of a rebellion, the British 
Government would have had the solid weight of 
the population of Ireland, and the warm heart of 
the nation for ever. It is probable that French 
intrigue, French party, democratic partisans 
would have existed, — in every state in Europe 
these were to be found, — but it required ministers 
like Lord Clare and Mr. Pitt to make them 

• One of the items of expense at that melancholy period which the 
mind grieves to dwell on, was for losses sustained in the insurrection. 
The sums claimed by suffering loyalists and which were decided on by 
the Commissioners, amounted to 823,517/., of which there was disal- 
lowed, 71,470/. What must not have been the losses of the opposite 
party ? A good argument this against civil war ! 




general, and to make them as lasting as the 
Union, perhaps as the connexion; for it is rarely 
that a deep popular passion can be allayed by 
removing present causes of complaint — retribution 
and security are equally claimed. 

The seeds for the destruction of the Irish Par- 
liament had been carefully sown so early as the 
time of James the First, when he created forty 
boroughs to enable his retainers to return the ma- 
jority, thereby counteracting the measure of 
Queen Elizabeth, who had divided Ireland into 
shires,* and enabled the community to elect the 
House of Commons. Mr. Grattan imagined that 
he could have eradicated this national evil, and 
he deeply regretted one circumstance in his life, 
that he had not proposed the addition of two 
members to the county constituency. He said 
there was a moment when he thought that the 
House of Commons would have adopted such a 
proposition, that a single resolution would have 
effected it, and he scarcely forgave himself the 
omission. It is probable that the period he al- 
luded to was that of 1784, when Lord Charle- 
mont, Mr. Flood, and Mr. Pitt were favourable to 
Reform. Such a measure might have prevented 
the Union, but that it would have passed appears 
rather doubtful. 

Yet this Parliament, in despite of its defects, 
did more for the country in the short space of 
time it was allowed to live, than England had 
effected in all her long and varied struggles for 
liberty. Ireland removed the restraints that for 
centuries before had been imposed on her com- 
merce and her constitution; she repealed Poy- 
ning's law — she insisted on the repeal of the 6th 

* Historians erroneously represent James as entitled to the merit of 
that measure, but it fairly belongs to Elizabeth ; hers was a constitu- 
tional act, his was merely ministerial. 




of George the First* — she obtained free trade — she 
obtained an independent Constitution — she re- 
stored the final judicature to her Lords — she 
established the independence of her Judges, she 
secured to the country the benefits of the Habeas 
Corpus Act- — she purified the elective franchise — 
she repealed the Perpetual Mutiny Bill, and 
placed on record the immortal resolve, that a 
standing army in time of peace, without the con- 
sent of Parliament, was contrary to law, (in it- 
self a charter of liberty). — All these splendid ac- 
quisitions she obtained in 1782, after a short reign 
of a few days, by means of her Parliament, freed 
from foreign control, and influenced by Irish feel- 
ings and Irish counsels. 

Subsequently, after a severe struggle against a 
corrupt Court, she obtained a Navigation Act, a 
Pension Bill, a Place Bill, a Responsibility Bill. 
She diffused the spirit of religious liberty, and 
emancipated, in a degree, the mind of her people. 
She repealed numerous penal laws, and gave to 
Roman Catholics property and power, and accom- 
panied the possession of land with the right of the 
elective franchise. She opened to them the Bar, 
and the Assistant Barristers' Bench; and if she 
had not been thwarted by British influence, she 
would have given to them full and complete 
Emancipation, and placed, in every respect, the 
Roman Catholic on an equality with his Pro- 
testant fellow-countryman. England had rights 
and precedents of her own to follow. She could 
boast of a proud constitutional ancestry, who 
traced their names— their descent — their glories 
— in hereditary succession to the Great Charters 
of their country, that they had thirty times con- 
firmed. But no such advantages were possessed 
by Ireland, where it might be said — 

* An English Act that Mr. Fox got repealed. 




" Havoc and spoil and ruin are my gain." 

" Hinc exaudiri gemitus et s<eva sonare 

Verbera, turn stridor ferri, trac tuque catena. 
Quae scelerum facies. O Virgo effare ! quibusve 
Urgentur poenisf qui tantus plangor ad auras V 

Ireland had to create almost every thing, and 
to create it out of chaos. It was a godlike 
work, and, like the Divine Creation, required 
fiends to destroy it.* 

* As events justified Mr. Grattan's predictions before the Union, so 
they have verified his forebodings after; not only in respect to the com- 
merce and the finances of the country, but of the connexion. 

Soon after 1800, Ireland was found unable to bear the imperial con- 
tributions, the additional taxation, and the increasing absentee drain ; 
she added enormously to her debt (from 13 millions as it v%as in 1799, 
or 24 millions in 1800, to 116 millions as it was in 1814) she altered 
altogether the nature of her commerce — from manufactures to corn and 
cattle. At length she became bankrupt, and the debts and exchequers 
were consolidated in 1817. 

As to her revenue, it was calculated in 1822 that 3,500,000/. of addi- 
tional taxation had only produced 50,000/. In 1803, it was 4,337,269/. ; 
in 1804, it was 3,717,9"42/. ; and in 1841, it was only 4,107,066/.; and 
in 1842, it was 4,198,689/. As to the connexion ; in the time of Lord 
Townsend, the military force to be kept in Ireland was fixed at 12,000 
by Act of Parliament, and in the Duke of Portland's time (1732) there 
were only 5,000 troops. Since the Union, the minister found it neces- 
sary to establish a force of 10,000 armed police, and to keep up a 
regular army of upwards of 20,000 men, and this in time of profound 
peace. With regard to the condition of the people; the census of 1841 
reports the number of persons engaged in trade and manufactures as 
amounting only to 1,953,688 individuals ; and the number employed in 
agriculture as amounting to 5,406,743 : the situation and circumstances 
of this latter class is thus described by the Commissioners of Land 
Inquiry in 1845, who report as follows : — 

" The agricultural labourers of Ireland suffer the greatest privations 
and hardships." "They depend upon precarious and casual employ- 
ment for subsistence." " They are badly housed, badly fed, badly 
clothed, and badly paid for their labour." a It would be impossible to 
describe adequately the sufferings and privations which the cottiers and 
labourers, and their families in most parts of the country endure." " In 
many districts their only food is the potatoe, their only beverage water." 
"Their cabins are seldom a protection against the weather." "Abed 
or blanket is a rar e luxury." " Nearly in all, their pig and their manure: 
heap constitute their only property" " A large proportion of the entire 
population comes within the designation of agricultural labourers, and 
endure sufferings greater than the people of any other country in Europe 
have to sustain." 

In conclusion it is to be observed that the Commissioners on the 
Railway Report laid before Parliament prior to the above, stated that 
the number of destitute persons found annually in Ireland amounted to 
2,300,000 ! 

Such are the results of forty years of Union ! in such manner have 
the promises then held out been realized ! 




Of the Members who Voted against the Union in 1799 and 1800. 

Thus * marked were not in the Division among those who voted against 
the Union, on the 24th of January, 1799, of 1 11 against, to 106 for. 

1 Hon. A. Acheson, son to Lord Gosford. 

2 William C. Alcock, County Wexford. 

3 Mervyn Archdall, County Fermanagh. 

*4 W. H. Armstrong, refused all terms from Government. 
*5 Sir Richard Butler, changed sides. See Black List. 

6 John Bagwell, changed sides twice. See Black List. 
*7 Peter Burrowes, afterwards Judge of the Insolvent Court ; a steady 

*8 John Bagwell, jun,, changed sides. See Black List. 
9 John Ball, member for Drogheda; incorruptible. 
*10 Charles Ball, brother to the preceding. 
11 Sir Jonah Barrington, King's Counsel, Judge for the Admiralty, 
refused all terms. 

*12 Charles Bushe, afterwards Solicitor-General and Chief Justice of 
Ireland ; incorruptible. 

13 John C. Beresford, seceded from Mr. Ponsonby in 1799, on his 

declaration of independence. 

14 Arthur Brown, member of the University, changed sides in 1800; 

was appointed Prime Sergeant by Lord Castlereagh, through 
Mr. Cooke ; of all others the most open and palpable case. 
See Black List. 

*15 William Blakeney, a pensioner, but opposed to Government. 
16 William Burton, sold his borough, Carlow, to a Unionist (Lord 
Tullamore), but remained staunch himself. 
*1 7 Henry V. Brooke. 
*18 Blayney Balfour. 

19 David Babbington, connected with Lord Belmore. 
*20 Hon. James Butler (Marquis of Ormonde) voted in 1800 
against the Union, but with Government on Lord Corry's 

*21 Col. J. Maxwell Barry (Lord Farnham), nephew to the Speaker. 

* By the Red and Black Lists it is evident, beyond all contradiction, 
that those who had, in 1799, successfully opposed the Union, or had 
declared against it, Lord Castlereagh, palpably purchased twenty-five 
before the second discussion in 1800, which made a difference of fifty 
votes in favour of Government; and it is therefore equally evident, 
that, by the public and actual bribery of those twenty-five members, and 
not by any change of opinion in the country, or any fair or honest ma- 
jority, Mr. Pitt and his instruments carried the Union. 

The observations annexed to the names in these Lists, were, at the 
time, either in actual proof, or sufficiently notorious to have been printed 
in various documents at that epoch. As to the House of Lords, the 
servile — almost miraculous — submission with which they surrendered 
their hereditary prerogatives, honours, rights, and dignities, into the hands 
of the Lords Clare and Castlereagh, is a subject unprecedented. 



22 William Bagwell, changed sides twice, concluded as a Unionist. 

See Black List. 

23 Viscount Corry (now Lord Belmore), dismissed from his regiment 

by Lord Cornwallis; a zealous leader of the opposition. 

24 Robert Crowe, a barrister, bribed by Lord Castlereagh. 

25 Lord Clements, afterwards Lord Leitrim. 

26 Lord Cole, afterwards Lord Enniskillen, unfortunately dissented 

from Mr. Ponsonby's motion for a declaration of independence 
in 1799, whereby the Union was revived and carried. 

27 Hon. Lowry Cole, a general ; brother to Lord Cole. 
•28 R. Shapland Carew. 

29 Hon. A. Creighton, changed sides and became a Unionist. See 

Black List. 

30 Hon. J. Creighton, changed sides. See Black List. 

31 Joseph Edward Cooper. 

32 James Cane, changed sides. See Black List. 

33 Lord Caufield (afterwards Earl Charlemont), son to Earl Charle- 

mont, a principal leader of the opposition. 

34 Henry Coddington. 

35 George Crookshank, a son of the Judge of the Common Pleas. 

36 Dennis B. Daly, brother-in-law to Mr. Ponsonby ; a most active 

*37 Noah Dal way. 

38 Richard Dawson. 

39 Arthur Dawson, formerly a banker, father to the late Under- 


40 Francis Dobbs, famous for his doctrine on the Millennium ; an 

enthusiastic Anti-Unionist. 

41 John Egan, King's Counsel, chairman of Kilmainham ; offered a 

Judge's seat, but could not be purchased, though far from rich. 

42 R. L. Edgeworth. 

43 George Evans. 

44 Sir John Freke, Bart, (afterwards Lord Carberry). 

45 Frederick Falkiner, though a distressed person, could not be pur- 


46 Rt. Hon. J. Fitzgerald, Prime Serjeant of Ireland ; could not be 

bought, and was dismissed from his high office by Lord Corn- 
wallis; father to Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald (afterwards Lord Fitz- 

47 William C. Fortescue, one of the three who inconsiderately op- 

posed Mr. Ponsonby's motion. 
*48 Rt. Hon. J. Foster, Speaker, the chief of the opposition throughout 
the whole contest. 
49 Hon. Thomas Foster. 
*50 Sir T. Fetherston, Bart., changed sides. See Black List. 
51 Arthur French, unfortunately coincided with Mr. Fortescue in 1799, 
against Mr. Ponsonby's motion. 
*52 Chichester Fortescue, King at Arms; bought over in 1800 by Lord 
Castlereagh : voted both sides; ended a Unionist. 

53 W'illiam Gore, bought by Lord Castlereagh in 1800. 

54 Hamilton Gorges, a distressed man, but could not be purchased : 

father-in-law to Secretary Cooke. 
*55 II. Grattan. 



*56 Thomas Goold (afterwards Serjeant and Master in Chancery), 
brought into Parliament by the Anti-Unionists; incorruptible. 

57 Hans Hamilton, member for Dublin County. 

58 Edward Hardman, City of Drogheda; the Speaker's friend. 

59 Francis Hardy, author of the Life of Charlemont; brother-in-law to 

the Bishop of Down. 

60 Sir Joseph Hoare. 

*61 William Hoare Hume, Wicklow County. 

*62 Edward Hoare, though very old and stone blind, attended all the 

debates, and sat up all the nights of the debate. 
*63 Bartholomew Hoare, King's Counsel, 

64 Alexander Hamilton, King's Counsel; son to the Baron. 

65 Hon. A. C. Hamilton. 

66 Sir F. Hopkins, Bart., prevailed on to take money to vacate, in 

1800, and let in a Unionist. 
*67 H. Irwin. 

68 Gilbert King. 

69 Charles King. 

70 Hon. Robert King. 

71 Lord Kingsborough (Earl Kingston). 

72 Hon. George Knox, brother to Lord Northland; lukewarm. 

73 Francis Knox, vacated his seat for Lord Castlereagh. 

74 Rt. Hon. Henry King. 

75 Major King, he opened the Bishop of Clogher's Borough in 1800. 
*76 Gustavus Lambert, brother to Countess Talbot. 

77 David Latouche, jun., banker. 

78 Robert Latouche, ditto. 

79 John Latouche, sen., ditto. 

80 John Latouche, jun., ditto. 

81 Charles Powell Leslie. 

82 Edward Lee, member for the County of Waterford; zealous. 

83 Sir Thomas Leighton, Bart., a banker. 

84 Lord Maxwell (died Lord Farnham). 

85 Alexander Montgomery. 

86 Sir J. Macartney, Bart., much distressed, but could not be bribed ; 

nephew by affinity to the Speaker. 

87 William Thomas Mansell, actually purchased by Lord Castlereagh. 
*88 Stephen Moore, changed sides on Lord Corry's motion. See De- 

*89 John Moore. 

90 Arthur Moore (afterwards Judge of the Common Pleas), a staunch 


91 Lord Mathew (Earl Llandaff), Tipperary County. 
*92 Thomas Mahon. 

93 John Metge, brother to the Baron of the Exchequer. 

94 Richard Neville, had been a dismissed Treasury officer ; sold his 

vote to be reinstated; changed sides. See Black List. 

95 Thomas Newenham, the author of various works on Ireland ; one 

of the steadiest Anti-Unionist. 

96 Charles O'Hara, Sligo County. 

97 Sir Edward O'Brien, Clare County. 

98 Col. Hugh O'Donnel, a most ardent Anti-Unionist; dismissed 

from his regiment of Mayo militia. 



99 James Moore O'Donnel, killed by Mr. Bingham in a duel. 

100 Hon. W. O'Callaghan, brother to Lord Lismore. 

101 Henry Osborn, could not be bribed; his brother was. 

102 Rt. Hon. George Ogle, Wexford County. 

103 Joseph Preston, an eccentric character; could not be purchased. 

104 John Preston, of Bellintor, was purchased by a title (Lord Tara), 

and his brother, a Parson, got a living of 700/. a year. 

105 Rt. Hon. Sir J. Parnell, Chancellor of the Exchequer, dismissed 

by Lord Castlereagh; incorruptible. 
*106 Henry Parnell. 

107 W. C. Plunkett (now Lord Plunket). 

108 Rt. Hon. W. B. Ponsonby (afterwards Lord Ponsonby). 
*109 J. B. Ponsonby (afterwards Lord Ponsonby). 

110 Major W. Ponsonby, a general, killed at Waterloo. 

111 Rt. Hon. G. Ponsonby (afterwards Lord Chancellor), died of 


112 Sir Laurence Parsons, King's County (Earl of Rosse) ; made a re- 

markably fine speech. 

113 Richard Power, nephew to the Baron of the Exchequer. 

114 Abal Ram, changed sides. 

115 Gustavus Rochfort, County Westmeath ; seduced by Government, 

and changed sides in 1800. See Black List. 

116 John S. Rochfort, nephew to the Speaker. 

117 Sir William Richardson. 

*118 John Reilly, changed sides. See Black List. 
*119 William E. Reilly. 
♦120 Charles Ruxton. 
121 William P. Ruxton. 
*122 Clotworthy Rowley, changed sides. See Black List. 
*123 William Rowley, ditto. See ditto. 
*124 J. Rowley, ditto! See ditto. 

125 Francis Saunderson. 

126 William Smyth, Westmeath. 

127 James Stewart. 

128 Hon. W. J. Skeffington. 

129 Francis Savage. 
*130 Francis Synge. 

131 Henry Stewart. 

132 Sir R. St. George, Bart. 

133 Hon. Benjamin Stratford (Lord Aldborough), gained by Lord 

Castlereagh; changed sides. See Black List. 

134 Nathaniel Sneyd. 

135 Thomas Stannus, changed sides; Lord Portarlington's member. 

See Black List. 
•136 Robert Shaw, a banker. 

*137 Rt. Hon. William Saurin (afterwards Attorney-General), a steady 
but calm Anti-Unionist. 

138 William Tighe. 

139 Henry Tighe. 

140 John Taylor. 

141 Thomas Townshend. 

142 Hon. Richard Trench, voted against the Union in 1799; was 

gained by Lord Castlereagh, whose relative he married, and 



voted for it in 1800; was created an Earl, and made an am- 
bassador to Holland. 

143 Hon. R. Taylor. 

144 Charles Vereker (now Lord Gort) City Limerick. 

145 Owen Wynne. 

146 John Waller. 

147 E. D. Wilson, first voted against the Union; purchased by Lord 

Castlereagh; he was Lord Clare's brother-in-law. See Black 

*148 Thomas Whaley. 
*149 Nicholas Westby. 

*150 John Wolfe, member for the County Wicklow; Colonel of the 
Kildare militia, refused to vote for Government, and was 
cashiered ; could not be purchased. 


Of those who Voted for the Union in 1799 and 1800. 

Thus * marked were not in the Division among those who voted for the 
Union on the 24th of January 1799, of 106 for, to 111 against. 

*1 R. Aldridge, an English clerk in the Secretary's office; no con- 
nexion with Ireland. 

2 Henry Alexander, Chairman of Ways and Means ; cousin of Lord 

Caledon; his brother made a bishop; himself Colonial Secre- 
tary at the Cape of Good Hope. 

3 Richard Archdall, Commissioner of the Board of Works. 

4 William Bailey, ditto ditto. 

5 Right Hon. J. Beresford, First Commissioner of Revenue; brother- 

in-law to Lord Clare. 

6 J. Beresford, jun., then purse-bearer to Lord Clare, afterwards a 

parson and Lord Decies. 

7 Marcus Beresford, a colonel in the army, son to the bishop, Lord 

Clare's nephew. 

8 J. Bingham, created a peer ; got 8,000/. for two seats, and 15,000/. 

compensation for Tuam. This gentleman first offered himself 
for sale to the Anti-Unionists : Lord Clanmorris. 

9 Joseph H. Blake, created a peer — Lord Wallscourt, &c. 
*10 Sir J. G. Blackwood, created a peer — Lord DufFerin. 

11 Sir John Blaquiere, numerous offices and pensions, and created a 

peer — Lord De Blaquiere. 

12 Anthony Botet, appointed Commissioner of the Barrack Board, 

500/. a-year. 

*13 Colonel Burton, brother to Lord Conyngham ; a colonel in the " 

*14 Sir Richard Butler, purchased and changed sides; voted against 

the Union in 1799, and for it in 1800. 
[ 15 Lord Boyle, son to Lord Shannon ; they got an immense sum of 

money for their seats and boroughs; at 15,000/. eacli borough. 

16 Right Hon. D. Brown, brother to Lord Sligo. 

17 Stewart Bruce, Gentleman Usher at Dublin Castle; a baronet. 




18 George Burdet, Commissioner of a Public Board, 500/. per annum. 
* 19 George Bunbury, Ditto. 
20 Arthur Browne, changed sides and principles, and was appointed 

serjeant; in 1799 opposed the Union, and supported it in 

1800; he was Senior Fellow of Dublin University; lost his 

seat the ensuing election, and died. 
*21 John Bagwell, sen., chunged twice ; got half the patronage of Tip- 

perary; his son a dean, &c.&c. 
*22 John Bagwell, jun., ditto; got the Tipperary Regiment, &c. 
*23 William Bagwell, his brother; changed sides. 

24 Lord Castlereagh, the Irish Minister. 

25 George Cavendish, Secretary to the Treasury during pleasure ; son 

to Sir Henry. 

26 Sir H. Cavendish, Receiver-General during pleasure; deeply in- 

debted to the Crown. 

27 Sir R. Chinnery, placed in office after the Union. 
*28 James Cane, renegaded and got a pension. 

*29 Thomas Casey, a Commissioner of Bankrupts under Lord Clare 

made a city magistrate. 
*30 Colonel C. Cope, renegaded ; got a regiment and the patronage of 

his county. 

*31 General Cradock, returned by Government ; much military rank ; 
Lord Ilowden. 

*32 James Crosby, a regiment and the patronage of Kerry, jointly ; 
seconded the Address. 

33 Edward Cooke, Under Secretary at the Castle. 

34 Charles H. Coote, obtained a regiment (which was taken from 

Colonel Warburton), patronage of Queen's county, and a 
peerage (Lord Castlecoote), and 7,500/. in cash for his interest 
at the borough of Maryborough, in which, in fact, it was 
proved before the Commissioners that Sir Jonah Barrington 
had more interest than his lordship. 

35 Right Hon. I. Cony, appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 

dismissal of Sir John Parnell. 

36 Sir J. Cotter, privately bought over by cash. 

37 Richard Cotter. 

"38 Hon. H. Creighton > , , . . , , , 

*39 Hon. J. Creighton \ ren *S aded ! privately purchased. 
40 W. A. Crosbie, Comptroller to the Lord Lieutenant's Household. 

*41 James Cuffe, natural son to 'Sir. Cuffe of the Board of Works ; his 
father created Lord Tyrawiy. 

*42 General Dunne, returned for Maryborough by the united influence 
of Lord Castlecoote and Government, to keep out Mr. Bar- 
rington ; gained the election by only one. 

43 William Elliott, Secretary at the Castle. 

44 General Eustace, a regiment. 

45 Lord C. Fitzgerald, Duke of Leinster's brother ; a pension and a 

peerage ; a sea officer of no repute. 

46 Right Hon. W. Forward, the brother of Lord Wicklow. 

47 Sir C. Fortescue, renegaded officer ; King at Arms. 

48 A. Ferguson, got a place at the Barrack Board, 500/. a year, and 

a baronetcy. 

*49 Luke Fox, appointed Judge of Common Pleas; nephew by marriage 
to Lord Ely. 
VOL. V. O 



*50 William Fortescue, got a secret pension out of a fund (3,000/. 

a year) entrusted by Parliament to the Irish Government, 
solely to reward Reynolds, Cope, &c, &c, and those who in- 
formed against rebels. 

51 J. Galbraith, Lord Abercorn's attorney ; got a baronetage. 

52 Henry D. Grady, first counsel to the Commissioners. 

53 llichard Hare, put two members into Parliament, and was created 

Lord Ennismore for their votes. 

54 William Hare, his son. 

55 Colonel B. Heniker, a regiment, and paid 3,500/. for his seat by 

the Commissioners of Compensation ; an Englishman; got a 

56 Peter Holmes, a Commissioner of Stamps. 

57 George Hatton, appointed Commissioner of Stamps. 

58 Hon. J. Hutchinson, a general, Lord Hutchinson. 

59 Hugh Howard, Lord Wicklow's brother, made Postmaster General. 
*60 William Handcock, Athlone, an extraordinary instance; he made 

and sang songs against the Union in 1799, at a public dinner 
of the Opposition, and made and sang songs for it in 1800; 
he got a peerage. 
*61 John Hobson, appointed Storekeeper at the Castle Ordnance. 
(32 Col. G. Jackson, a regiment. 

63 Denham Jephson, Master of Horse to the Lord Lieutenant. 

64 Hon. G. Jocelyn, promotion in the Army, and his brother conse- 

crated bishop of Lismore. 

65 William Jones, Colonel of Militia. 

66 Theophilus Jones, Collector of Dublin. 

67 Maj.-Gen. Jackson, a regiment. 

*68 William Johnson, returned to Parliament by Lord Castlereagh, as 
he himself declared, "to put an end to it;" appointed judge. 

69 Robert Johnson, seceded from his patron, Lord Downshire, and 

was appointed a judge. 

70 John Keane, a renegade; got a pension. 

71 James Kearney, returned by Lord Clifton, being his attorney; got 
an office. 

72 Henry Kemmis, son to the Crown Solicitor. 

73 William Knott, appointed a Commissioner of Appeals, 800/. a 


74 Andrew Knox, Lord Abercorn's influence. 
*75 Colonel Keatinge. 

76 Right Hon. Sir H. Langrishe, a Commissioner of the Revenue, re- 

ceived 15,000/. for his patronage at Knoctopher. 

77 T. Lindsay, Commissioner of Stamps, paid 1,500/. for his pa- 


78 T. Lindsay, jun., Usher at the Castle, paid 1.500/. for his pa- 


79 T. Longfield, created a peer ; Lord Longueville. 

80 Capt. J. Longfield, appointed to the Office of Ship Entries of 

Dublin, taken from Sir Jonah Barrington. 

81 Lord Loftus, son to Lord Ely, Postmaster-General; got 30,000/. 

for their boroughs, and created an English Marquis. 

82 General Lake, an Englishman (no connexion with Ireland) ; re- 

turned by Lord Castereagh solely to vote for the Union. 

83 Right Hon. David Latouche. 

chap, vi.] 



84 General Loftus, a general ; got a regiment ; cousin to Lord Ely. 

85 Francis M'Namara, a private pension, paid by Lord Castlereagh. 

86 Ross Mahon, several appointments and places by Government. 

87 Richard Martin, Commissioner of Stamps. 

88 Right Hon. Monk Mason, a Commissioner of Revenue. 

89 H. D. Massy, received 4,000/. 
*90 Thomas Mahon. 

91 A. E. M'Naghten, appointed a Lord of the Treasury, &c. 

92 Stephen Moore, a Postmaster at will. 
*93 N. M. Moore. 

94 Right Hon. Lodge .Morris, created a peer. 

95 Sir R. Musgrave, appointed Receiver of the Customs, 1,200/. 

a year. 

96 James M'Cleland, a barrister; appointed Solicitor-General, and 

then a Baron of the Exchequer. 
*97 Colonel C. M'Donnel, Commissioner of Imprest Accounts, 500/. 

per annum. 
*98 Richard Magenniss, ditto. 

99 Thomas Nesbit, a pensioner at will. 

100 Sir W. G . Newcomen, Bart., bought, and a peerage for his wife. 
"*101 Richard Neville, renegaded; reinstated as Teller of the Ex- 

102 William Odell, a regiment, and Lord of the Treasury. 

103 Charles Osborne, a barrister, appointed a Judge of tho King's 


104 C. M. Ormsby, appointed First Council Commissioner. 

105 Admiral Packenham, Master of the Ordnance. 

*106 Colonel Packenham, a regiment, killed at New Orleans. 
*107 H. S. Prittie, a peerage, Lord Dunally. 
*108 R. Penefather. 

*109 T. Prendergast, an office in the Court of Chancery, 500/. a year, 

his brother Crown Solicitor. 
*110 Sir Richard Quin, a peerage. 

111 Sir Boyle Roche, Gentleman Usher at the Castle. 

112 R. Rutledge. 

*113 Hon. C. Rowley, renegaded, and appointed to office by Lord 

114 Hon. H. Skeffington, Clerk of the Paper Office of the Castle, and 

7,500/. for his patronage. 

115 William Smith, a barrister, appointed a Baron of Exchequer. 

116 H. M. Sandford, created a peer, Lord Mount Sandford. 

117 Edmond Stanley, appointed Commissioner of Accounts. 

118 John Staples. 

119 John Stewart, appointed Attorney-General, and created a baronet. 

120 John Stratton. 

*121 Hon. B. Stratford, renegaded to get 7,500, his half of the com- 
pensation for Baltinglass. 

*122 Hon. J. Strutford, Paymaster of Foreign Forces, 1,300/. a year, 
and 7,500/. for Baltinglass. 

*1 23 Richard Sharkey, an obscure barrister, appointed a county judge. 

*124 Thomas Stannus, renegaded. 

*125 J. Savage. 

*126 Right Hon. J. Toler, Attorney-General, his wife, an old lady, 
created a peeress, himself made Chief Justice, and a peer. 

o 2 



*127 Frederick Trench, appointed a Commissioner of the Board of 

*128 Hon. R. Trench, a barrister, created a peer, and made an ambas- 

*129 Charles Trench, his brother appointed Commissioner of Inland 
Navigation, a new office created by Lord Cornwallis, for 

*130 Richard Talbot. 

*131 P. Tottenham, compensation for patronage, cousin, and politically- 
connected with Lord Ely. 

132 Lord Tyrone, 104 offices in the gift of his family; proposed the 

Union in Parliament, by a speech written in the crown of his 

133 Charles Tottenham, in office. 

134 John Townsend, a Commissioner. 

*135 Robert Tighe, Commissioner of Barracks. 

136 Robert Uniack, a commissioner; connected with Lord Clare. 

137 James Verner, called the Prince of Orange. 

138 J. O. Vandeleur, commissioner of the Revenue; his brother a 


139 Colonel Wemyss, Collector of Kilkenny. 

140 Henry Westenra, father of the late Lord Rossmore, the reverse 

of him in politics. 

It may not be uninteresting to refer to the two 
great leading men of the day, who, on the subject 
of the Union, widely differed. Mr. Fox had as- 
sisted in the establishment of the Independent 
Constitution of Ireland in 1782, and was adverse 
to a change. But with a view to forward the 
measure, his opponents had represented his senti- 
ments as favourable to it; and, in consequence, 
at a meeting of the Whig Club in London, on the 
6th May, 1800, he took the opportunity of ex- 
plaining them. He said — 

That he had persisted in his retirement from Parliament 
from no motive, but a persuasion on his part that his at- 
tendance w ould be of no avail — his opinions had been mis- 
represented, particularly on the Union. It had been in- 
vidiously given out, both in this country and in Ireland, 
that he was rather friendly than adverse to that measure — 
it was unnecessary to repeat his opinions to such men as 
were well acquainted with him. He, who had opposed the 
enslaving of America, must be hostile to the enslaving of 
Ireland. (Loud applause.) He, who thought it was un- 
pardonable presumption, in this country, to attempt to 




legislate for America, would not change his opinions of 
legislating for Ireland in Great Britain. It was the most 
arrogant of all pretensions, to pretend that we can legislate 
for Ireland — that we should understand all her local in- 
terests better than herself, and feel a more lively anxiety 
in promoting them — the sovereignty of the people — that 
man shall be his own governor, is the fundamental prin- 
ciple of all well constituted states. It is unnecessary to say 
more than to compare this principle with the Union, in 
order to discover the injustice of the measure. Does any 
one think, when the Union takes place, that Ireland will 
have an equal share in the Government? " Do as you will 
be done by/' is one of the soundest maxims of policy. Put 
the question the other way: suppose England were to sur- 
render up her legislature to unite herself with Ireland, and 
send one hundred members to the Irish Parliament, to sit 
there and act as the guardians of the interests of this 
country. If such a proposition was made, what would be 
the first outcry here against such a surrender of our inde- 
pendence : such a sacrifice of our interests, even if Ireland 
were to have an equal share in the British legislature, an 
outcry would be raised. What would the English say if 
the members for Belfast and Limerick were to have the 
ruling voice in legislating for them? To undertake to legis- 
late for persons with whose local interests we must be un- 
acquainted is despotism, not liberty. We could not have 
the same feeling, the same views with Ireland, and the at- 
tempt to govern for them was the most audacious which 
the history of mankind recorded. To pretend that the 
measure is taken with the consent of the Irish people is 
adding mockery to injury. While martial law # is pro- 
claimed in Ireland, and the people restrained from meeting 
to express their sentiments, it is insulting them to say that 
the Union is made with their free good-will. 

These were Mr. Fox's opinions on the measure 
of Union ; they were worthy of a great mind, 
and a man of enlarged sentiments, and in both 
these respects there appears a great difference 
between him and his rival, and many think that 

* When the disturbances in 1798 broke out in Ireland, he said to 
Mr. Grattan, "your countrymen have got into a great scrape, and I do 
not see how they can get out of it." 



in these respects he greatly surpassed him. A 
comparison, therefore, of the respective merits of 
these celebrated men, may not prove uninterest- 
ing or unimportant. 

Mr. Pitt — who may be said to be the author of 
Ireland's degradation, and the cause of her 
heaviest calamities — was the son of the great 
Earl of Chatham. In his early days he was dis- 
tinguished for his literary acquirements, and was 
reputed to be one of the best classical scholars in 
England. He came into public life with great 
advantages ; the splendour of his father's name 
shone around him, and he enjoyed the reputation 
of hereditary talent and popular principles ; for his 
conduct, at the commencement of his career, in- 
duced men to believe that he would prove to be a 
staunch supporter of the rights and liberties of 
the people, as well as the power and prerogatives 
of the Crown. 

As a speaker, Mr. Pitt was excellent — he had 
been trained in the art from his infancy by his 
father—he spoke very often, and never ill ; Mr. 
Fox spoke often, and not always well, yet when 
lie spoke from his heart, he was superior to Pitt; 
but in reply, Mr. Pitt was always good and 
superior to Fox, though not equal to Sheridan, 
whose invective was very bitter, and who was a 
man of the greatest genius in the House of Com- 
mons. Sheridan used to annoy Pitt more than 
any one else, and it is probable that on a field "day 
Sheridan would have surpassed him, for he could 
make him appear very ridiculous ;* but in close 
fight, Pitt always supported himself with pru- 
dence and sufficient boldness. He had great 
powers of satire ; his fort was scorn ; his invec- 

* Mr. Grattan used to say that the difference between Lord Chatham 
and his son was, that you remembered what the one said, but not what 
the other. 



tive was almost unrivalled, and did not seem to be 
so much the result of a warm imagination as the 
effect of his judgment ; but he had not the depth 
or the grandeur of Fox. It is true that in his 
speeches Fox used to go very far ; he went be- 
yond what was prudent, and hazarded bold and 
extreme opinions. lie did so in 1789 ; he did so 
in 1796. The race of his eloquence hurried him 
forward and precipitated him ; there was a bold, 
constitutional vehemence of mind, which made 
him sacrifice his cooler judgment. Its nobleness 
captivated. When he conversed, he opened his 
heart before you — when he spoke, his language 
was select, his words well chosen ; he sometimes 
made too much of a small subject; but when his 
mind lightened, he was prodigiously fine — nothing 
could be superior. He possessed more talent 
and more general knowledge than Pitt, but he 
had not his art. Pitt was an actor, but, unlike 
his father, he was a trickster also. He had a 
better understanding than Fox, but he wanted 
what Fox had — a heart ! He was too cautious, 
and would have been a greater man if he had had 
less artifice. His speaking resembled a square 
battalion, or a number of battalions, each sup- 
porting the other ; his arguments were always 
well arranged, and followed and strengthened 
each other. It was not so with Fox. His fault 
was that his arguments did not seem to flow from 
each other ; it was a large army, but deficient in 
order; but Pitt lacked the ornament that Fox 
had, which, however, was in argument, and not 
always used ; neither did he possess the same 
reach of mind as Fox, nor the same magnanimity 
of sentiment. When men heard Pitt* speak, they 
heard what was very good and finely delivered, 

* Sheridan used to say that Pitt was like a pendulum — he never 
thought till his tongue was set in motion. 



but when they heard Fox they heard much that 
was ordinary, and some things that were unri- 
valled. Pitt's speeches are models of parlia- 
mentary debating, and good speaking ; they flow 
with great ease — there is no break, no sudden 
conclusion, nothing abrupt; they contain much 
grandeur of style ; they have propriety, sense, 
and dignity, and an easy continued flow, but they 
want brilliancy, vivacity, and impetus ; they will 
not descend to posterity, and will scarcely be 
read, for the subjects cease to interest, and there 
is no rich sentiment or philosophical principle in 
them. They are nothing compared to his father's 
* — they are nothing compared to Bolingbroke, and 
even Bolingbroke is not often read. Demosthenes 
will ever be read on account of his fine style and 
fine sentiments, though the subject does not in- 
terest. Pitt's speeches on the Kegency question 
excite no interest — (that, as was very improperly 
said by Sheridan, was a question of party) — his 
speeches on the Indian question are good, but in- 
ferior to Burke's, where that subject will be 
studied ; inferior also to Fox, who spoke on that 
question better than Pitt. His speech on the 
breaking out of the French war, alter the peace 
of Amiens, was Pitt's best, but it was ill reported, 
as the gallery was cleared. Fox replied next 
day, and told Mr. Grattan it was the best speech 
he ever made. 

Of these two great statesmen, Mr. Fox was 
decidedly the first — he possessed finer principles, 
and appears a nobler but a looser* character. 
Mr. Pitt will be thought to have more prudence, 
but he was spoiled by Government, and had re- 
ceived a bad education from his early connection 
with the Court, where he had learned harsh prin- 
ciples and tricky ways. On the other hand, Mr. 

* Coming from the Italian he would have sung the Beggar's Opera. 



Fox stood aloof from the Court, and was brought 
up differently, though irregularly, but was spoiled 
by being too long in opposition, as Mr. Pitt was 
by being too long in Government; yet, consider- 
ing how long Pitt remained in power, and the 
means he had to increase it, it is surprising he 
was not a much worse and a more arbitrary 
minister. He had the art to keep clear of faults, 
and exposed himself to few, while he took advan- 
tage of all those of his adversary, so that he may 
justly be called " tectissimus orator;' but this was 
not a great art, and did not evince any great 
quality, and there is no fine principle in it. Pitt 
was cunning, always afraid of being overreached, 
and sure to sow distrust in every bosom. He did 
so with Mr. Grattan and the Volunteers in 1783 
— he did so with Mr. Grattan and Lord Fitz- 
william in the negotiation of 1795 — he did so with 
respect to both Catholics and Protestants at the 
Union in 1800. Fox was exactly the reverse ; he 
had an engaging manner, a directitude and open- 
ness of character that inspired confidence ; he 
possessed the art of approximation, and in a 
question of negotiation would come sooner to the 
object, and had talent to manage it. Great fault 
was found with Fox for his coalition with Lord 
North in '83 ; but the coalition of Pitt with 
George the Third afterwards was infinitely worse. 
Fox's junction with Lord North may have been 
unseemly, but nothing more. Fox and he had 
been political opponents, but Fox was minister 
and Lord North was not ; he took office under 
Fox. But Pitt formed a coalition with the King, 
and took office under him — the one was the Go- 
vernment of a constitutional minister directing a 
man already humbled by defeat, the other was 
the league of an exasperated king against a con- 
stitutional minister. The King had lost one Em- 



pire, and would have gone on in the mad attempt 
to recover it, if he had been permitted to follow 
his own inclination. Pitt joined with him, and 
formed a most unprincipled junction, in which he 
consulted his animosity against Fox more than his 
love for the country. Pitt took office under the 
old offenders,* and a very bad party; and the 
King took up an aspiring young man against Fox, 
and Pitt managed the King by threatening to let 
loose Fox upon him. This terror kept Pitt in office 
till he found he was making the King too strong; 
the King then discovered he could do without 
him, and turned him out.f It was singular that 
the people should have seen the junction between 
Fox and Lord North, and not have seen the junc- 
tion between Pitt and the King. Though the 
doctrine that the King should not name as minis- 
ter a man whom Parliament disapproves, is not 
very constitutional, yet it is useful. In 1784, 
Pitt opposed this fatally ; his father had thought 
differently, and said that the King should be re- 
strained in the choice of his minister, and kept 
him so. Pitt dissolved the charm, and took the 
King out of leading strings. Pitt gave many bad 
qualities to the King, who kept them, and in ex- 
change he got bad ones from the King, and never 
returned them. 

On the subject of the Regency, perhaps Pitt 
was right; the ground he took was more prudent 
and more popular than that taken by Mr. Fox ; 
and yet he would have found it difficult to reconcile 
it to the spirit of the British constitution. There 
was no analogy to it in his doctrine, which went 
much farther from the principles of the constitution 
than that of Mr. Fox. 

Mr. Fox (who on the question of the Middle- 
sex election had begun ill in supporting its prin- 

* 1784. f 1801. 



ciple, namely, the right of the House of Commons 
to disqualify its members), on the question of the 
Regency supported the right of the Prince of 
Wales to become Regent on the illness of his 
father, the King. Of this error Mr. Pitt availed 
himself dexterously, and acquired great popu- 
larity. He managed the question with consum- 
mate skill, and gained the people by professing to 
defend the Constitution against Fox, while he 
gained the King by defending him against his 
son. It was certainly more dangerous to let the 
House of Commons assume the power than the 
Prince, for then they might declare the King in- 
capable, and form a Republic. The case was an 
extreme one, and could only be provided for on 
the occasion ; there was no great light thrown on 
the subject. Mr. Pitt's phrase of " Treason to 
the Constitution" sounded well, but had no 
strength. He admitted that the Prince should be 
Regent; Fox said the same; they differed only 
about the mode ; that was matter of arrangement, 
and in this Pitt showed a factious spirit. He de- 
prived the Regent of the appointments to the 
household, which he gave to the Queen, whom 
he had on his side, and of whose friendship he 
was sure : thus he created a party for himself, so 
that he could not be turned out of office ; or, if 
he was turned out, he possessed through this 
party the greatest possible means of annoying 
the Regent. On the whole of the business there 
was a great deal of faction.* The Prince did not 
act well ; he held private meetings, when he 
should have left London, and shown no anxiety 
or concern in the case further than that which 

* On the debate on the same subject at a subsequent period, Sheridan 
said the whole was a question of party ; his friends did not forgive him. 
But this did not apply to Ireland where it was not a party question, and 
in which the Irish Parliament acted in a much more constitutional 
manner than the British. 




he should have entertained concerning his father. 
The Parliament of Ireland on this occasion dif- 
fered from Mr. Pitt ; they made him their enemy 
by taking part with the Prince of Wales against 
him. Mr. Pitt never forgave them, but harboured 
the recollection in his breast till an opportunity 
occurred. The Union was an act of resentment, 
and he then wreaked upon that devoted country 
all his vengeance, with cool, unsparing malevo- 

He took up the question of Reform in Parlia- 
ment, and the reformation of abuses, and then he 
abandoned them. Having availed himself of the 
popularity they acquired for him to get into 
power ; he then forgot the principle — the Reform 
he found a legacy left by his father, and he used 
it, not for the people, but as a weapon against 
Mr. Fox, and then flung it away as soon as he 
became minister. He acted the part of an apos- 
tate, and his office was his apology ; but he went 
a little farther, and strove to hang those who had 
supported these measures. He made an attack 
upon the Constitution, and put on their trial the 
persons who had formerly been his friends. He 
had lived with Dr. Price and Home Tooke in 
habits of intimacy — he had adopted the principles 
of the one, enjoyed the friendship of the other, 
and then strove to hang both. It may be said 
that he stopped the dissemination of Jacobin prin- 
ciples in England, but he did so by desperate 
measures, and most unconstitutional proceedings ; 
and if the offences of Hardy and Tooke had been 
declared treason, no man in England would have 
been safe. 

With regard to the abolition of the slave trade, 
he professed to be its supporter, yet he remained 
in office without carrying it — he did more, for he 
allowed his own men to consider it as a private 



question, and let them vote as they pleased : thus, 
he held office to let his own party vote against 
him, and outvote him on his own question. This 
was a palpable trick, and the introduction of a 
practice that was novel and bad. 

With respect to the French war, Pitt supported 
and Fox opposed it. Both were in the wrong — 
both went too far ; the one was too ready to make 
peace, the other too eager to continue the war. 
Pitt was mistaken, in 1792, for he should have 
made peace then. France had been foiled ; she 
had lost Brabant and the Low Countries, and was 
more limited in territory than at the peace of 
1814. The object, therefore, which Mr. Pitt 
professed to have in view was obtained, and he 
should have terminated the war. He approved 
afterwards of the peace of 1801, and this was a 
confession that he was wrong in 1792 ; but his idea 
was not merely to beat down France, but to beat 
down all French principles everywhere. That 
was absurd, and showed he was a bad statesman, 
as well as a bad war-minister ; but he was a 
sterling Englishman, and his merit was, that he 
restrained the wild spirit that was extending from 
France, and kept up the national spirit of Eng- 
land. He did this with great boldness and great 
perseverance, and not only kept up the high tone 
of England, but made her the rallying-point for 
Europe ; and it may be fairly said, that he upheld 
the courage of the Continent, as well as that of 
his own country. He was, however, greatly 
assisted by Edmund Burke. This was his merit, 
and he deserves praise for it ; but when that is 
said, everything is said. His plans got credit 
subsequently from the defeat of the French, and 
obtained for his memory a praise that he did not 
deserve ; for the success of the war was owing to 



the reverse of his system. He had nothing to say- 
to it ; Buonaparte achieved it — not England. 

Fox's fault was that he appeared too eager to 
conclude peace on any terms, and he was cen- 
sured for this much more than he deserved ; the 
truth was that he saw farther than Pitt did, and 
was right in the two prophecies that he made 
that France would beat Europe and could only 
be ruined by herself; he said justly, " if France 
is thrown on her resources she will beat us, hut if 
she throws the Continent on their resources she will 
be beaten.'" This turned out to be the case. Pitt 
proved the truth of the first proposition, for he 
submitted to terms of peace harder than were 
offered to England, and that left France mistress 
of Europe. The event proved the truth of the 
second proposition. France beat herself down ; 
the expedition to Russia ruined her ; Pitt's wars 
made her ; Buonaparte's wars destroyed her. Fox 
may have committed many errors, but here he 
foretold precisely what happened, and sufficient 
justice has not been rendered to his memory. If 
he had lived, he would have made peace in 1807 ; 
he had obtained good terms, and would have 
brought matters to a favourable termination ; but 
he was dying. 

Let us see for what Pitt deserves the name of 
great : he could have derived little satisfaction 
from anything that he did, except it was a satis- 
faction to find the country everything and to 
leave her nothing ; perhaps he may have been 
elated by his measures of finance. Commerce 
grew into a flourishing state, notwithstanding the 
loss of the American market, and here he had 
some merit. As to the French revolution, he 
prevented its principles from spreading to Eng- 
land, but he did this by desperate means, and 



the Emperor of Austria did the same. His con- 
ceptions may have been good, but his execution 
was miserable. He failed in all his military 
undertakings ; his expeditions were unfortunate 
and unsuccessful. He placed at their head the 
King's son, because he was his son, not because 
he was a general. His coalitions were ill- 
planned, accelerated, and ineffectual.* His con- 
tinental projects failed ; he could not carry par- 
liamentary reform ; he could not carry the 
abolition of the slave trade ; he could not carry 
Catholic emancipation ; he could not conclude 
a peace with France ; he could only make war in 
Ireland, and carry his Union by bayonets and 
bribes. His bank restriction was condemned by 
his friend Canning ; his sinking fund by his 
friend Lord Grenville. 

The panegyric of his followers was his dis- 
paragement ; for if he had been a truly great man 
he never would have associated with them. They 
undervalued Lord Chatham, and for opposite 
reasons praised the son. Had he been what he 
ought they would not have extolled him ; but 
Mr. Pitt liked that class of persons, and was fond 
of "a diligent mediocrity,''' On the whole, he 
failed in the two grand efforts of his life — the 
French war and the Irish Union ; his professed 
object was to consolidate the two countries, 
whereas the people remained as divided as ever. 
His rival would never have passed such a mea- 
sure. Mr. Fox had a superior mind ; he had also an 
excellent heart, and was perhaps the best natured 

* The public paper transmitted to Mr. Pitt from abroad, stated the 
number of troops the allies -were to bring into the field, and after parti- 
cularizing the contingents of each state, ended with " et d'uutres, 
30,000 !" and these paper men seemed to suffice for the British minis- 
ter; England paid for them accordingly, and Buonaparte scattered 
them to the winds. 



man that ever lived. He wrote to General Bur- 
goyne in 1783 about the Irish Volunteers, so also 
did Mr. Pitt ; his letters were kind and feeling, 
— those of Mr. Pitt were harsh and angry. Fox 
was full of candour ; he had great weaknesses, 
was often mistaken in politics, and had many 
errors, but they did not impeach his political 
principles, though they did his prudence. Pitt, on 
the contrary, associated and went to table with 
men of vile principles — Jenkinson, Eldon, West- 
moreland. What could be more insincere than 
his professions? What more unconstitutional than 
his government? What more desperate, profli- 
gate, and violent than his Irish administration ? 
His fault — nay his crime — was that his govern- 
ment left on the minds of the people a hostile 
impression towards England. 

When men call him great they should not 
forget his conduct — flogging, strangling, and free- 
quarters. If he had been a great man he would 
not have allowed such measures. It may be 
doubted whether he was a bad minister for Eng- 
land, but no one can doubt that he was a bad 
minister for Ireland ; he kept up there an abomi- 
nable set of men, and it cannot any longer be 
questioned whether he was justified in giving 
that country up to a band of fiery fiends such as 
Lord Clare, John Claudius Beresford, Archbishop 
Agar, Hobart, Westmoreland, and Camden — the 
pitch-cap, the triangle, the lash, and the torture. 
There is a good plain way of judging of ministers, 
that is, from the persons they employ, and if Pitt 
had been truly great he never would have tole- 
rated such men or pursued such measures. He 
found Ireland in a very different state from that 
to which he reduced her. His father did not 
think it requisite to keep up such a military force 



there as his son rendered necessary. It was not 
required at the time of the American war. It 
was not required at the period of 1782, there 
were then only 5,000 troops in Ireland ; it was 
scarcely required even at the period of 179G ; but 
Mr. Pitt lost by his violent measures the affec- 
tions of the Irish people, he shook the connection, 
he perilled the empire, and his conduct towards 
Ireland left a stain upon his character that never 
will be effaced. 

vol. v. 





After the Union Mr. Grattan retires to Tinnehinch and gives up politics. 
— His mode of life. — Letter to Mr. Berwick. — Remark on Lord 
Clare's speech in the Imperial Parliament. — Lord Fitzwilliam urges 
Mr. Grattan to enter Parliament. — Mr. Grattan's letter to Signor 
Acerbi. — Remarks on Ireland. — Mr. Pitt and Lord Cornwallis retire 
from office. — Their reasons. — Memorandum produced by Lord Castle- 
reagh on the subject. — Mr. Addington's administration. — Peace with 
the French Republic. — Emmett's insurrection in 1803. — His words and 
death. — The Broken Heart, Moore's Melody. — Mr. M'Can's exami- 
nation before the Privy Council. — Strange offers to him. — Mr. Grat- 
tan's letter to Mr. Wickham. — The paper regarding the United Irish 
Directory burned by Mr. Grattan. — Lord Fitzwilliam's letter to Mr. 
Grattan and Mr. Plowden. — His History and Remarks on Mr. 
Addington as to the Catholics. — Mr. Fox applies to Mr. Grattan on 
the affairs of Ireland. — His answer. — His yeomanry corps. — Recon- 
ciles Orangemen and Catholics. — Mr. Grattan's important letter to 
Mr. Fox. — Mr. Fox to Mr. Grattan. — Hardy's Memoirs of Lord 

After the Union, Mr. Grattan retired to Tinne- 
hinch, and gave himself up to study and to the 
education of his children. His love of literature 
and of music afforded him great and lasting- 
resources ; he returned to the study of Greek 
and Latin classics, and the English, Irish, and 
Roman histories. Horace, Virgil, Homer, Livy, 
Tacitus, Cicero, and Demosthenes, Shakspeare, 
Milton, and Pope were his favourite authors; 
he had them always on the table and much of 
them by heart. About a mile from Tinnehinch 
there was an ancient Roman Catholic church- 
yard, situated on a rising ground above the 
Waterfall river ; the remains of the ruined walls 



were overhung with ivy, and the old trees that 
grew around them covered the place with a grave 
and solemn shade, it was a lonely but an inte- 
resting spot ; along its border lay a little dell 
through which a brook murmured gently round 
moss-grown stones, till a few yards farther on, it 
fell over a steep cascade, and there joined the 
river that flowed to Tinnehinch. This was the 
favourite retreat of Mr. Grattan ; to this seques- 
tered spot he loved to retire, and on the Sunday 
mornings in spring, when the wild violets and the 
primroses began to appear, and in summertide, he 
used to sit or saunter beneath the blossoming 
hawthorn, wrapt in thought and meditation ; 
there, he would say, it is not within a church 
alone that I can offer up my prayers to Heaven ; 
God is visible in all his works around, wondrous 
and infinite ; I behold, I admire, and I adore. 
My brother* and myself, who often accompanied 
him, used then to read or to repeat some favourite 
author, till the hour for breakfast aroused him to 
return. He could scarce speak tranquilly on the 
subject of the Union ; at one time he would start 
into fits as if seized with frenzy, at another he 
would remain musing and melancholy, or if he 
ventured to speak on the subject his eyes almost 
filled with tears. 

His habits were early, and as he was now freed 
from the turmoil of politics, he could regulate 
them with more precision. He rose at six, threw 
over his shoulders his House of Commons cloak, 
and went from the bedroom to the river and 
therein he precipitated himself, summer or win- 
ter, frost or snow ; his health was thus re- 
stored, and his spirits in some degree recovered 
their former tone and elasticity. He kept to his 
early friends, Hardy, Berwick, Ponsonby, Arthur 

* The Right Hon. James Grattan, member for the county of Wicklow. 

p 2 


Moore, Preston (the poet), Burrowes, Fletcher, 
Curran, the remnant of the Irish party, with 
whom, as he was wont to say, he had retired from 
the scenes of their last labours, " with safe con- 
sciences but with breaking hearts." 

But Mr. Grattan, though sensitive in the high- 
est degree,* was a man too intellectual, too 
favoured in friendship and love, and too good 
to fall into misanthropy or stupor under any mis- 
fortunes. The following letter to one of his closet 
friends, though short and slight, shows that his 
mind was strong, as the after one from Lord 
Fitzwilliam is evidence of his bodily health, and 
of the unabated esteem with which every honest 
politician regarded him : — 

Mr. Grattan to the Rev. Mr. Berwick. 

30th March, 1801. 

My dear Doctor, — I return you many thanks ; pre- 
sent my acknowledgments to Mr. Davenportf in my name, 
but I have got a tutor, Mr. M'Neil has agreed to come. 
I long to see you and talk about the times. I have not 
seen Hardy for some time^-he is with the Bishop ;J as soon 
as my horse recovers I will ride to them. I am glad you 
are likely to be on friendly terms with La Touche ; § he is 
a man of great worth, though his politics fall short a little 

* An anecdote may here be related, which to some families may 
prove useful and instructive. When very young Mr. Grattan had been 
frightened by stories of ghosts and hobgoblins that nurses are too often in 
the habit of relating to children, so much so as to affect his nerves in 
the greatest degree ; he could not bear being left alone, or remaining 
long without any person in the dark. This feeling he determined to 
overcome, and he adopted a bold plan. In the dead of night he used 
to resort to a churchyard near his father's house, and there he used to sit 
upon the gravestones, while the perspiration poured down his face; but 
by these efforts he at length succeeded and overcame his nervous sensa- 
tion ; this certainly was a strong proof of courage in a child. 

f Rev. Mr. Davenport, a Fellow of Dublin College, a very worthy 

\ Dickson, Bishop of Down, a mild, upright, honest man, who with 
Marley voted against the Union — the only two bishops who did so. 

§ Right Hon. David Latouche, he had voted for the Union; one of 
the only seven men in the house who were not bribed. 


of ours. What do you think of Lord Clare's* last speech 
— the mite Thaletis ingenium ? He seems to me to have 
become a clumsy affectation of Dr. Duigenan. Remem- 
ber me to the house of Castle Forbes. — Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 

Lord Fitzwilliam to Mr. Grattan. 

London, June 11th, 1801. 
Dear Grattan, — Though no occasion has offered for 
my expressing to you the interest I have taken in, and the 
gratification I have received from, all the happy circum- 
stances that have attended you since we last met, not one 
of your numerous friends has seen them with more sincere 
pleasure. In the midst of circumstances of a different 
nature, health, I am happy to hear, has returned, and with 
it, I hope, not only the powers, but the inclination for 
activity. You must not be buried in the mountains of 
Wicklow, nor deprive the country of talents in which it 
has a property. Let me then ask you if you will accept a 
seat in the present Parliament should a vacancy arise by a 
death. My friend, Mr. Dainer, who sits for Peterborough, 
is in a very precarious state ; I trust he will recover, but 
there is much danger that he will not. If anything hap- 
pens to him, I can venture to promise you an election, 
without opposition. I should not make a proposal to you 
to stop a gap at the fag end of a Parliament if I had it 

* The speech that Mr. Grattan here alludes to was delivered in the 
House of Lords on the 23rd of March, on the Irish Martial Law Bill ; 
it was full of false statements, gross misrepresentations, and the most 
virulent abuse upon the people of Ireland. 

He appears to have stated that the Catholic question was first brought 
forward in Ireland for the purpose of rebellion, and that ninety-nine out 
of every hundred Catholics did not care one jot for Catholic Emanci- 
pation ; what they wanted and understood by emancipation was a par- 
tition of property ! He said that every night when he retired to his 
chamber, he retired to an armoury ; and every day when he went out 
of his house, his servant as regularly handed him his pistols as he did 
his hat ! 

The proof of this last falsehood was, that he resided in Ireland, which 
he would not have done if what he stated were true ; for he possessed 
much more of the feminine quality than the heroic. On one occasion, 
as some troops were passing in the streets of Dublin to relieve a military 
guard, the people, in making way for them, pressed upon Lord Clare 
who was walking by; he conceived they were going to attack him and 
grew frightened, he ran into a shop and drew out a pistol to defend 
himself. Curran said that when he fought him he was as pale as 



not in my power to propose to you a seat in the next 
without opposition ; and I wish it to be understood to be 
under all circumstances, whether a vacancy shall now 
take place or not. In either case allow me to propose it 
to you, and to press your acceptance, as a gratification to 
my pride in showing the existence of mutual confidence. — 
Believe me, with the sincerest esteem, most truly yours, 


The reply to this could not be procured, but 
the offer was not accepted. 

The individual to whom the following letter 
was addressed was an Italian, who came on a visit 
to Ireland and was introduced to Mr. Grattan. 
He was the author of a tour in Lapland, and 
came to write a tour in Ireland. He was a man 
of sense, spirit, and observation, passionately fond 
of music, a player and composer; this secured 
him a warm reception among the inmates of Tin- 
nehinch, in honour to whom he composed some 
pretty pieces of music. The letter is interesting, 
it shows the state of the people of Ireland with 
rare compactness and Mr. Grattan's opinion : — 

Mr. Grattan to Signor Acerbi. 

Tinnehinch, December 17th, 1801. 
My dear Signor, — I was glad to hear from you and of 
you, in whatever quarter of the globe you are, whether the 
Worth Pole or the Torrid Zone, I shall be delighted to 
receive your letters. The north of Ireland contains the 
active citizens of Ireland ; its principal wealth, industry, 
and spirit; a bad climate and a fine people ; the south is 
more beautiful but worse peopled ; the cause is moral and 
not physical. The trade of the south was forbidden, the 
trade of the north encouraged. The trade of the former 
consisting of woollen cloth, was an object of jealousy to 
England ; the trade of the other consisting of linen, which 
was not. The emigration you mention is shocking ; it 
seems we lose our people as we lose our constitution. 
America may rejoice, France may rejoice. I am not sur- 
prised that those of whom you speak should repent of 



their late conduct; there is no constitution to be resisted 
now, no liberty to be run down now, and therefore no use 
for them. It is a fact that in this country since the 
wolves have been destroyed, the wolf-dog has perished. 
I agree with you that the expense of attending the 
English Parliament is more than the Irish fortunes can 
bear; the members will in general settle in England, or 
cease to attend, or get public plunder for their votes in 
Parliament. I can well conceive what you write of the 
peace to be the fact; a bad peace is better than a bad 
war. I was glad of the peace principally for this reason, 
it secured our country from invasion. I am glad the Cis- 
alpine republic is secured ; mention to me what her 
constitution is to be ; at present I apprehend it is a muni- 
cipality, chosen by certain description of people, making 
laws, and executing them. I should wish her consti- 
tution more open than that of France or Holland ; that 
she should have a representation chosen by the people 
who have some property, for I don't like personal repre- 
sentation, it is anarchy, and must become slavery. I would 
have a Senate and a House of Representatives ; the latter 
should be biennial, the former of a longer continuance. 
As to the Pope, I suppose Buonaparte in his Concordat 
(I have not seen it) consulted the wishes of France, and 
his own power, of course. The church in France may be 
restored, but the empire of the church never ; its roots are 
gone, its tithes, its domination. Buonaparte seems to think 
that the religion of the people should be that of the 
Government; I fancy he is right; but with us there are 
many who think that the religion of the Government 
should be that of the people ; I think they are wrong, 
because the people may have some religion, the Govern- 
ment seldom has any. 1 lament that I cannot find your 
book or journal. The letter of Hawkins was of no conse- 
quence. Remember us to Signore Bellotti and to Tom if 
you see him. I shall thank you much for the Statistical 
Breviary. I am happy you have fixed with your printer, 
I long to see your journal, and am, believe me, with the 
greatest sincerity, yours most affectionately, 

Henry Grattan. 

In March 1801, Mr. Pitt retired from office, 
and a change of administration took place. The 
cause assigned was, that no further concessions to 
the Catholics of Ireland would be granted by the 



[chap. VII. 

King; the consequence was the formation of a 
ministry on the principle of total and final exclu- 
sion. This appears from the letter of Mr. Plow- 
den, who was employed by the Government to 
write on the subject of Ireland, and who states 
the conversation and the expressions of Mr. Ad- 
dington, which sufficiently showed the spirit of 
the Administration. 

Thus early did the Union bubble burst. Not 
only had the King been too strong for his minis- 
ters, and determined to govern against their ad- 
vice, but he had resolved to govern against the 
sense of his people. Mr. Pitt and Lord Corn- 
wallis conceiving themselves bound to the Catho- 
lics, thought proper to retire, and they put for- 
ward two important documents, setting forth the 
reasons for their resignation, advising the Catho- 
lics, and delivering an opinion favourable to their 
claims. These were drawn up by Lord Castle- 
reagh, and given by Lord Corn wallis to Dr. Troy, 
the titular K. C. Archbishop of Dublin, with a 
view to satisfy the people of Ireland that some 
exertion had been made on their behalf. The 
production of these documents at this juncture 
was a proof that ministers had made use of the 
Catholic question as a means of accomplishing 
the Union ; the refusal on the part of the King- 
was pleaded as an excuse for leaving office, and 
intended not only as an apology for their conduct 
on the Union, but as a complete discharge from 
all future obligations ; for (although the words of 
the document state the minister pledged not to 
embark in the service of Government unless on 
the terms of the Catholic privileges being ob- 
tained) both these individuals put upon them an 
interpretation quite different from their plain 
meaning, and took office afterwards without any 
stipulation to carry the measure. Surely if there 
had been an insurmountable bar to hold office, it 




existed in 1804,* as well as in 1 801 , and there- 
fore resignation at one period should have been a 
bar to acceptance of office at the other ; but Mr. 
Pitt went even farther than this ; for in the debate 
of 1S05, he stated that the cause of his resigna- 
tion had operated so strongly on his mind, that he 
never would be a party to bringing forward the mea- 
sure on any future occasion (evidently alluding 
to the enmity of the King). It is manifest 
that these papers were intended to cover his re- 
treat, and that of Lord Cornwallis, from a very 
inglorious and disgraceful proceeding. In the 
debate in 1805, the words used by the minister 
were, that he gave no direct pledge to the Catho- 
lics, but he distinctly violated the written pledge 
given in the following document, of what sort 
soever it was really meant to be. On the 
whole, it was a ministerial manoeuvre very 
little creditable to any party — a species of jugglery 
in which, if the minister contrived not to break 
his word, he went as near to it as he could ; and 
the only difference seemed to be between a per- 
son not deceiving you, but suffering you to de- 
ceive yourself. Mr. Cooke's letter, and the me- 
morandum by Lord Cornwallis, as produced by 
Lord Castlereagh in his speech on the Catholic 
question on the 25th of May, 1810, are prefixed 
to the documents, as they appertain to them, and 
illustrate the transactions of 1801 . It is observable 
that it was on the 13th of February of that year, 
scarce sir months subsequent to the passing the act 
of Union, that these proceedings occurred, Lord 
Castlereagh having then applied to Lord Corn- 
wallis for the documents. 

Dublin Castle, March 3rd, 1801. 
My dear Lord, — In answer to the queries stated in 
* Mr. Pitt accepted office in May, 1804. 



your lordship's letter to the Lord Lieutenant of the 26th 
instant, his Excellency has directed me to inclose to you 
the statement which accompanies this letter, and which 
has been prepared according to his Excellency's directions. 
I am ever, my dear Lord, most truly, your Lordship's 

E. Cooke. 

Viscount Castlereagh, &c. Sec. 


When it was notified to the Lord Lieutenant that Mr. 
Pitt, Lord Grenville, Lord Spencer, Lord Camden, Mr. 
Dundas, and Mr. Windham, had requested permission to 
retire from his Majesty's councils, upon their not being 
sanctioned in bringing forward such measures as they 
thought essential to secure to the empire the full benefit of 
the Union, the most important of which measures ivas a 
concession of further privileges to his Majesty's Roman 
Catholic subjects, his Excellency conceived that it was 
expedient that the Catholic body should have an authentic 
communication upon a subject so deeply affecting their 
situation and interests, and so calculated to influence their 
future conduct. 

His Excellency had long held it as his private opinion, 
that the measure intended by those of his Majesty's minis- 
ters who were retiring from office was necessary for secur- 
ing the connection of Ireland with Great Britain. He 
had been, however, cautious in his language on the sub- 
ject, and had studiously avoided any declaration to the 
Catholics, on which they could raise an expectation that 
their wishes were to be conceded. Through the whole 
measure of the Union, which was in discussion for two 
years, and during which period every effort was made to 
procure a resistance to the measure on the part of the 
whole body of the Catholics, no favourable assurance or 
promise was made to them. 

Their judicious conduct, during that trying period, con- 
firmed his Excellency in the opinion, that every measure 
tending to secure their attachment to the empire in future, 
which they had in this instance so essentially served, ought 
in true policy to be attempted. 

His Excellency did, therefore, recommend it to his chief 
secretary, who was engaged with his Majesty's ministers 
in the course of the summer in England, to second every 



disposition for effecting the object of the Catholics, at the 
same time he retained a prudential reserve to the Catholics 
during the progress of the discussions of the cabinet. 

His Majesty having approved of the solicitation of the 
majority of his Majesty's ministers to retire from his Ma- 
jesty's councils, his Excellency having requested that his 
Majesty would extend to him the same indulgence, it be- 
came a matter of public duty for his Excellency to explain 
to the Catholic body the sentiments which had been held 
with respect to them, and to inculcate the line of conduct 
which, in this arduous crisis, it became them to pursue. 

His Excellency, therefore, being apprised of the senti- 
ment held by Mr. Pitt, did, on the 13th February, send 
for Lord Fingal and Dr. Troy, and gave them two papers, 
to be by them circulated among the principal Catholics in 
different parts of Ireland. 

The first, his Excellency felt assured, corresponded with 
Mr. Pitt's sentiments. 

And the other conveyed his own private sentiments, 
formed on the speeches and conduct of many of the most 
eminent characters of all parties and distinctions. 

It being of great importance that any communication 
made by his Excellency should not be misunderstood or 
misinterpreted, and that it should make a due impression 
and produce a general good effect, his Excellency preferred 
a written to a mere verbal communication ; which might 
have been ill reported, and might have been subject to 
perversion, according to the inclination or capacity of those 
who should circulate and receive it. 

His Excellency has seen a happy result from this mode 
of proceeding. Rumours having been transmitted from 
England that the wishes of the Catholics were likely to be 
acceded to, every ill consequence from their disappoint- 
ment has been obviated : and there is now every reason to 
believe that they will take that line of conduct which the 
well-wishers to his Majesty's service and the cause of the 
empire could desire. 

The following were Mr. Pitt's Sentiments. 
The leading part of his Majesty's ministers, finding in- 
surmountable obstacles to the bringing forward measures of 
concession to the Catholic body whilst in office, have felt 
it impossible to continue in administration under the in- 
ability to propose it with the circumstances necessary to 
e carrying the measure with all its advantages : and they 



have retired from his Majesty's service, considering this 
line of conduct as most likely to contribute to its ultimate 
success. The Catholic body will therefore see how much 
their future hopes must depend upon strengthening their 
cause by good conduct : in the mean time, they will pru- 
dently consider their prospects as arising from the persons 
who may espouse their interests, and compare them with 
those which they may look to from any other quarter. 
They may, with confidence, rely on the support of all those 
who retire, and of many who remain in office, when it can 
be given with a prospect of success. They may be assured 
that Mr. Pitt will do his utmost to establish their cause in 
the public favour, and prepare the way for their finally 
attaining their objects:* and the Catholics will feel that, as 
Mr. Pitt could not concur in a hopeless attempt to force 
it now, he must at all times repress, with the same decision 
as if he held an adverse opinion, any unconstitutional con- 
duct in the Catholic body. 

Under these circumstances, it cannot be doubted that 
the Catholics will take the most loyal, dutiful, and patient 
line of conduct ; that they will not suffer themselves to be 
led into measures which can, by any construction, give a 
handle to the opposers of their wishes, — either to misinter- 
pret their principles, or to raise an argument for resisting 
their claims ; but that, by their prudent and exemplary 
demeanour, they will afford additional grounds to the 
growing number of their advocates to enforce their claims, 
on proper occasions, until their objects can be finally and 
advantageously attained. 

The Sentiments of a Sincere Friend (the Marquis 
cornwallis) to the catholic claims. 
If the Catholics should now proceed to violence, or en- 
tertain any idea of obtaining their objects by convulsive 
measures, or forming associations with men of jacobinical 
principles, they must of course lose the support and aid of 
those who have sacrificed their own situations in their 

* "The sentiments contained in this paper Lord Cornwallis knew to 
be Mr. Pitt's, having been conveyed in a letter from Lord Castlereagh 
to his lordship, which letter was previously seen and approved of by Mr. 
Pitt, although not expressed precisely in the terms read in the paper." 
— Words of Lord Castlereagh, 25th May, 1810, Parliamentary Debates. 

Yet who would have believed that in a few years afterwards Mr. Pitt 
should " without any pledge demanded from the King, have voluntarily 
"engaged not to bring forward the question." — Lord Hawkesbury's Speech, 
March, 1807. 



cause, but also would, at the same time, feel it their indis- 
pensable duty to oppose everything- tending to confusion. 

On the other hand, should the Catholics be sensible of 
the benefits they possess, by having so many characters of 
eminence pledged not to embark in the service of Govern- 
ment, except on the terms of the Catholic privileges being 
obtained, it is to be hoped that in balancing the advantages 
and disadvantages of their situation, they would prefer a 
quiet and peaceable demeanour to any line of conduct of 
an opposite description. 

The strange proceeding of a retiring minister 
giving written explanations to popular parties, un- 
connected with him, of his party's reason for se- 
cession, produced, as Mr. Cook's letter shows, an 
inquiry from London ; and this certainly somewhat 
negatives the conclusion suggested by parts of the 
documents, as well as from other circumstances, 
that the resignation of 1801 was only specious, 
that Mr. Pitt wanted to avoid the humiliating 
peace,* and to trick the Catholics. Lord Corn- 
wallis's two papers display a far greater anxiety 
to keep the Catholics clients of his party, than to 
secure their liberty; and his statement in the 
memorandum, that " no favourable assurance or 
promise " was made to the Catholics during the 
L T nion discussions, is directly false, and is nega- 

* The substance of the preliminaries of peace between the French 
Republic and Great Britain and Ireland, signed the 1st of October, 
1801, was as follows : 

Great Britain retained the islands of Ceylon in the East, and Trinidad 
in the West, Indies, restoring all the other French, Spanish, and Dutch 

The Cape of Good Hope was to remain a free port; Malta was to be 
independent both of Great Britain and France, and to be restored to the 
order of St. John of Jerusalem, under the protection of a third power, 
to be agreed upon. 

Egypt was to be restored to the Porte's dominions, which power, as 
well as those of Naples and Portugal, with some inconsiderable excep- 
tions, were guaranteed in their full integrity, as they stood before the 
war; Naples and Rome were to be evacuated by the French, and Porto 
Ferrajo by the English troops. 



tived by the heads of the administration. The 
most remarkable sentence in the series of docu- 
ments is, that (in the " Memorandum ") in Lord 
Cornwallis's private opinion, Catholic emancipation 
ivas necessary for securing the connexion of Ireland 
and Great Britain* 

The new administration, formed in March, 
1801, consisted of, 

First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Right 

Hon. Henry Addington. 
President of the Council, Duke of Portland. 
Lord Chancellor, Lord Eldon. 
Lord Privy Seal, Earl of Westmoreland . 
First Lord of the Admiralty, Earl St. Vincent. 
Master General of the Ordnance, Earl of Chatham. 
Secretary of State for the Home Department, Lord Pelham. 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord Hawkesbury. 
Secretary of State for the Department of War and the Colonies, Lord 


President of the Board of Control for the Affairs of India, Lord Viscount 

Secretary at War, Right Hon. Charles Yorke. 
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Earl of Liverpool. 
Treasurer of the Navy, Right Hon. Dudley Ryder (afterwards Lord 

Joint Paymaster of His Majesty's Forces, Right Hon. Thomas Steele, 

Lord Glenbervie. 
Joint Postmasters-General, Lord Auckland, Lord Charles Spencer. 
Secretaries of the Treasury, John Hiley Addington, Esq., Nicholas 

Vansittart, Esq. 
Master of the Rolls, Sir William Grant. 

Attorney-General, Sir Edward Law (afterwards Lord Ellenborough). 

Solicitor-General, Hon. Spencer Perceval. 

Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Earl of Hardwicke. 

Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Earl of Clare. 

Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Castlereagh. 

Chancellor of Exchequer for Ireland, Right Hon. Isaac Corry. 

Robert Emmett's insurrection, though it origi- 
nated from deeper sources than was generally 
alleged, was as perfect a surprise to Mr. Grattan 
as to any one in Ireland. The postscript of this 
letter to Mr. Berwick is his first expression of 
surprise, anger, and anxiety — anxiety for his 

* Irish Emancipation may yet be found as urgently necessary as 

chap, vii.] bmmett's insurrection. 


country. The worst evil of an unsuccessful in- 
surrection is not the loss of life in battle, but the 
legal butchery and ferocious terrorism which fol- 
low it. The time of Emmett's insurrection was 
unfavourable to success. The first wrath against 
the Union had burst, the sober animosity, fated ulti- 
mately to destroy that Union, had scarcely begun. 
England's troops were disposable, and the organi- 
zation of '97 broken ; yet, with a leader of more 
profound and stern character, the attack on Dub- 
lin might have succeeded, and then the country 
would have risen and a national war would have 
followed. But the attempt threw back the country 
for years, and, only it was so trivial that men were 
enabled with some degree of success to laugh at 
it, that one night's emeute might have been fatal to 
every eminent patriot in Ireland. 

Mr. Grattan to toe Rev. Mr. Berwick. 

25th July, 1803. 

Dear Doctor, — I agree with you about Thucydides, 
though I never read him deeply. Demosthenes being of 
your opinion is somewhat in its favour. I believe the 
Greek to be the best mode of writing. The best passage 
I ever read in Cicero is his praise of Demosthenes. 

I hear nothing. There are rumours of Lord Moira com- 
ing in — it is an anxious time. I am happy that Lady 
Moira is so well. I shall drink her health to-day — I dine 
with Curran, who always gives her. Stocks low, taxes 
high — both parties talking like fools, French and English. 
Mrs. G. is much better. I am happy to hear that you, 
and your children, and Mrs. Berwick are well. — Yours, 8cc. 

H. G. 

A shocking business Sunday night. A party of — (I 
know not what name to give the stupidity or barbarity) — 
rose up in two of the streets of Dublin, murdered a judge, 
killed his nephew, in the presence of his daughter, shot a 
colonel, and wounded a passenger — fled and were taken. 
This is getting up merely to be cut down — their hanging is 
of little moment — but they ruin the country. I have not 



heard anything further, nor can I find out what instigators 
these wretches could have had. 

Rev. Dr. Berwick, Castle Forbes, Longford. 

Abortive insurrections have ever been the bane 
of Ireland, and have served only to confirm the 
power whose overthrow they contemplated : they 
gave vigour to the Anti-Catholic and Orange party, 
and secured their continued triumph over the 
people : the proceeding of 1803 was miserable in 
its attempt, but fortunately limited in its extent, 
and confined to very few, and those of the lowest 
order. Robert Emmett was the third son of Dr. 
Emmett : he had imbibed the political feelings of 
his brother, but wanted many of the qualities he 
possessed : devoid of caution, foresight, and pru- 
dence; ardent, spirited, and impetuous. His mind 
was cultivated, and his powers of eloquence were 
surprising, but his oratory was figurative and lux- 
uriant, — too ornamental to be argumentative, too 
flowery to be persuasive, yet he pleased the ear and 
fascinated the auditors by the fl uency and richness of 
his language. He had no j udgment, no discretion. 
He was an enthusiast — he was a visionary. With- 
out a treasury, without officers, without troops, 
he declared war against England and France and 
prepared to oppose both. The one, if she sought 
to retain possession of Ireland, and the other, if 
she attempted to invade it. With a few followers 
he rose to take the Castle of Dublin and defeat a 
disciplined garrison. He put on a green coat and 
cocked hat, and fancied himself already a con- 
queror. If no lives had been lost he probably 
would not have suffered, although Lord Norbury 
was the judge who tried him : it was a school- 
boy attempt, and did not merit the punishment 
he was doomed to suffer. He was often inter- 
rupted at the trial by Lord Norbury, but he pre- 



served his temper and self-possession. He re- 
peatedly essayed to speak, but was stopt by the 
Judge — he then exclaimed : 

My Lords, since you control me, I submit, but it must 
be remembered I have not spoken in my defence. Pos- 
terity will recollect that my vindication has not been heard, 
and as there is now no man bold enough to write my 
epitaph, so there will be no man base enough to calumniate 
my memory. 

When asked the usual question why sentence 
should not be passed on him : he exclaimed — 

Sentence of deatli may be pronounced — I have nothing 
to say; but sentence of infamy shall not be pronounced — 1 
have everything to say. 

He was as cool and collected before his deatli 
as if nothing was to happen.* Peter Burrowes 
saw him on his way, and related a circumstance 
that occurred as he was going to execution. He 
had a paper that he wished to be brought to Miss 
Curran, to whom he was strongly attached ; he 
watched his opportunity, and in passing one of 
the streets he caught a friendly eye in the crowd, 
and, making a sign to the person, got him near, 
and then he dropped a paper ; this was observed 
by others, and the person who took it up was 
stopt ; the paper was taken from him and 
brought to the Castle. Mr. Burrowes and Charles 
Bushe saw it and said it was a very affecting and 
interesting letter.')' 

* See his last letter to Mr. Curran about his daughter just previous 
to his execution. — Life of Curran by his Sun, vol. ii. p. 160. 

t In " Geoffrey Crayon," (a series of stories by Washington Irvine), 
ill be found one entitled the " Broken Heart," which tells in a very- 
interesting and touching manner, the history of their mutual affection ; 
the colouring is rather extreme, yet it would have been perfect if the sub- 
sequent marriage of the lady had not destroyed the romance. The pret- 
tiest composition is Mr. Moore's melody " Oh, breathe not his name, 
ht it rest in the shads" that was written on Emmett ; but here too the 
poetry of the Irish bard, like the prose of the American novelist, is rather 

VOL. V. Q 



An event occurred at this time which occa- 
sioned some annoyance to Mr. Grattan, whose 
affection for his early friend Hussy Burgh, and 
whose generous dispositions involved his friend 
M'Can and himself in apparent difficulty with 
Government. It has been already mentioned 
that an annuity had been granted to Dowdall, 
(Hussy Burgh's son,) who had lost his situation in 
consequence of his having furnished Mr. Grattan 
with some official papers relating to parlia- 
mentary business. The dismissal of this indi- 
vidual was unworthy of such a person as Mr. 
Foster, and probably he would have been 
restored if Mr. Grattan had applied to him, but 
that course he would never adopt, and he di- 
rected his agent, Mr. M'Can, to remit the money 
to Dowdall, who had been arrested when the 
Habeas Corpus Act was suspended ; no charge 
or accusation was brought against him ; no crime 
or offence was proved against him. When he was 
sent to Fort St. George, Mr. Grattan considered 
it would be ill done on his part if he discontinued 
the stipend merely on that account, and it was 
transmitted to him through his agent. The pri- 
soners who were confined there had signed an 
agreement to banish themselves abroad, and not 
to return to Ireland. Dowdall, with becoming- 
spirit, declined to affix his name to the paper, he 
rejected the proposal, and asserted his innocence, 
asked for trial, claiming a right of return to his 
country ; at length he was liberated, and came 
back to Ireland greatly impoverished and exas- 
perated to the greatest degree at the treatment he 
had received. His education had been good, his 
person was handsome, and his manners were 
insinuating ; but he fell into bad habits and bad 
company, and Mr. Grattan being informed of this 
desired M'Can to discontinue the allowance. 



About this time some circumstances occurred 
which induced a friend of M'Can to apprise him 
that events Mere likely to happen that would 
seriously affect the Government. He commu- 
nicated this to two of his brother acquaintances 
in the revenue, Mr. Annesley and Mr. Croker, 
and stated his ignorance of what it was, but 
recommended them to put Government on their 
guard. They thought, or affected to think, little 
of the matter, and neglected to do so. However, 
when the events of the 23rd July took place, a 
peace-officer and a party of military entered 
M'Can's house and arrested him. They seized 
his papers and letters, opened his escrutoire, took 
500/., the greater part of which they never 
restored, and conveyed M'Can to prison. Dow- 
dall's receipts for the annuity were found, and 
M'Can was brought before the Privy Council, 
lie sought for his acquaintances Mr. Annesley 
and Croker to befriend him, but conscious in all 
probability of their error in disregarding his sug- 
gestion, they absconded from the city and left 
M'Can to his fate. Among those who sat at the 
Privy Council were Lord lledesdale (chancellor), 
O'Grady (attorney-general), Messrs. Wickham 
and Marsden (secretaries). The proceedings were 
singular, and often repeated by M'Can in pre- 
sence of persons who would have corrected him 
if his statements were exaggerated, but who, not- 
withstanding, as I well recollect, confirmed his 
narrative. Those who have known the late Chief 
Baron O'Grady (Lord Guillamore), will easily 
recognise his peculiar style and manner from the 
following interrogatories: — "Come, Mr. M'Can, 
tell us the fact, we know all about it " — (they only 
knew of the receipts from Dowdall) ; " you may 
as well speak out; you need not be afraid; we 
shall take care of you; we shall get you a 'place 
Q 2 


m'can's examination. [chap. VII. 

out of the country, and send you there safely ; 
and we will give you 10,000/. Come, now, tell 
us the truth about Mr. Grattan 11 " " Sir," said 
M'Can, "I tell you if the King had as good and 
loyal subjects in Ireland as Mr. Grattan, things 
would not be as they are ; there is not a more 
honest or loyal man in his Majesty's dominions." 
"Aye," said O'Grady, "take care, Mr. M ( Can, 
take care what you say." " I hope so," said Lord 
Redesdale, in a marked tone of voice. M'Can 
could only state the transaction, and there was 
nothing to be condemned in it. This Star Cham- 
ber mode of proceeding was rather an improve- 
ment since 1798, yet, in plain English, what did 
it amount to? A person's agent is arrested and 
his papers seized, and money is offered to him, 
not as a bribe to speak false, but as an induce- 
ment ; that is, an offer of protection if he speaks 
true, and money if he speaks more, and this from 
one judge in presence of another. It was nothing 
else than a system of terror and of torture to 
catch false confessions — by money in the one 
case as by whips in the other!* 

* The old leaven of malice still existed and manifested itself in the 
following remarkable instance. 

Parliament had been dissolved on the 29th of June, 1802, and in the 
■city of Dublin Mr. Grattan and Mr. George Ponsonby proposed and 
seconded Sir Jonah Batrington as candidate to represent her, in consi- 
deration of the part he had taken at the Union : this afforded a display 
of that bitter and unmanly animosity that in this case only expired with 
its possessor. 

When Mr. Grattan presented himself to vote for Sir Jonah Barrington, 
Mr. Giffard objected to his competency, as having been disfranchised 
by the Corporation of Dublin in 1798. The rival candidates dis- 
claimed any wish to avail themselves of such an illiberal advantage. 
Mr. Grattan's competency was, however, established, inasmuch as the 
act of disfranchisement was not recorded in the original hall, and his 
name still stood on the records of the town clerk's office. Before Mr. 
Grattan voted, he thus forcibly expressed his feelings on Mr. Giffard's 
objection ; to which no reply was attempted by the objector, or any of 
his Orange associates. " The objection comes from the hired traducer 
of his country, the excommunicated of his fellow-citizens, the un- 
punished ruffian, the bigoted agitator, the regal rebel. In the city a 


Mr. Grattan had written to Mr. Wickham to 
tell him that the money sent to Dowdall was by 
his orders, that all had been done by his direc- 
tions, and that he would justify it. His letter, 
which was found among M'Can's papers, in 
which he stated the annuity would be stopped 
unless Dowdall returned to good and orderly 
habits, satisfied in a great measure the members 
of the judicial divan, but another document was 
likewise discovered which finally decided the 
matter, though it was by no means expected by 
some of these inquisitors, that was, a paper in Mr. 
Grattan's handwriting which contained the cha- 
racters of the men who composed the United 
Irish Directory. It was a short work, describing 
the objects and conduct of that party. Among 
them were the characters of Emmett, Tone, 
Neilson, O'Connor, Jackson, and the Sheares. 
It was written by Mr. Grattan in his nervous and 
graphic style with great force and ability. It 
deprecated their proceedings as strongly as those 
of Government, and pointed out how fatal their 
designs would prove to themselves as well as to 
their country ; it was severe, and drawn with 
that vivid mode of expression which is to be found 
in his reply to Lord Clare's speech that he pub- 
lished in 1S00. These were probably written at 
that period, as they partook of the style and cha- 
racter, and no doubt were drawn as the reverse of 
the picture of 17S2, and the celebrated men 
whose living portraits he then sketched off in 
such brilliant and genuine colours.* 

firebrand, in the courts a liar, in the streets a bully, and in the field a 

Giffard published afterwards a pretended reply in a London news- 
paper, which was never uttered ; but this practice of publishing false- 
hoods in England respecting Ireland and the Irish, did not rest here, nor 
is it confined to this single case. 

• Mr. Grattan sincerely believed in the impolicy of the separation 



But his generous and feeling disposition induced 
him to omit them, and they were left out of the 
work and remained in M'Can's possession. He 
was little aware that this neglected and for- 
gotten treasure would prove far better than the 
10,000/. which the Attorney-General offered him. 
The document being examined, was read, and it 
may well be supposed that the Privy Council 
were astonished ; — they looked aghast. The 
Chancellor was surprised, O'Grady looked amazed, 
Wick ham appeared somewhat less grave, Marsden 
muttered his astonishment, but M'Can beamed 
radiant with joy,- — his words were verified, his 
friend was exculpated, his own liberty secured. 
The Council broke up ; the tables were turned. 
Their satisfaction, though silent, was no doubt 
complete. Poor M'Can was immediately libe- 

This interesting and valuable document, on 
which mankind would have had a claim as well 
as M'Can, met with an unexpected fate. Mr. 
Grattan, as appears in his letter, desired it should 
be destroyed. M'Can was not willing to do so, 
and preserved it, notwithstanding this injunction. 
He looked upon it as a sacred relic, on which his 
liberty had depended, and to which perhaps he 
may have owed his life. However, Mr. Grattan 
shortly after this occurrence went to M'Can, and 
insisted on the document being destroyed, and 
stood by till every page was committed to the 
flames and consumed, observing " it shall never 

party, and had little personal acquaintance with them, and many of 
their enemies were about him, which accounts for the opinions he en- 
tertained of these individuals. 

* He was, however, deprived of his fees and salary for three months, 
when he was restored to his situation in the revenue, but his 500/. was 
not restored to the escrutoire, however they very politely returned him 
the paper that saved him. 


be said that 1 have spoken ill of the dead." 
Pending these transactions Dowdall fled to France, 
and was heard of no more; some persons asserted 
that he had entered the service of that country, 
and was killed in the expedition to Flushing in 

The following letters explain the subject. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Wickham. 

Sir, — I was informed yesterday of some of the particu- 
lars of* Mr. M'Can's examination. 

I have the honour to inform you that he acted regarding 
Mr. Dowdall by my particular orders, and that I am ready 
to defend my conduct on that head whenever called on. 
I have the honour to be, sir, your very obedient humble 

Henry Grattan. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Forbes. * 

August 11th, 1803. 
My dear Sir, — Write to me by to-night's post. I have 
no apprehensions about our friend, as 1 know his perfect 
innocence; but I am vexed that even a suspicion should 
take place. Yours, 

H. Grattan. 

Mr. Grattan to Ross M'Can. 

Tinneliincli, August, 1803. 

Dear M'Can, — I send for the trunk. Send me the 
Hibernian. You and Mrs. Rishf ought to make affidavit 
to the contents of the first letter, as set forth in the narra- 
tive, unless the letter be found. Also she should make 
affidavit that the last was given on the express condition 

that D should leave the kingdom and never return. 


H. Grattan. 

It were much to be wished that the letter were found; 
it is a great loss. 

* A relation of John Forbes, (Mr. G rattan's great friend,) and a con- 
nexion of Mr. M'Can's. 

| The person who had the receipts. 



Burn the manuscript which contains the characters; it is 
severe. The persons are dead or miserable. Ii tcould ap- 
pear flattery to the Government, and cruelty to the deceased. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

Tinnehinch, 18th August, 1803. 
Dear M'Can, — On recollection, No. I will have no 
affidavit ; it would show an anxiety about nothing. The 
transaction is an honest one, and so it appears without 
further proof. I should only wish you to look for the 
letters. Yours, 

H. Grattan. 
The following were the letters alluded to. 
Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

March 6th, 1802. 

Dear M'Can, — I wished to have seen Dowdall to-day, 
to repeat my advice to him to keep himself out of all plots 
or confederacy. If he does not, he may be certain he will 
be discovered, and will be ruined. Also I wished to teli 
him that I cannot think of recommending him as a clerk 
to any merchant without the fullest assurance that he holds 
no intercourse or communication with any plan or meeting 
of the above description. Until I am satisfied that he 
keeps clear of all such, I find it improper, and therefore 
impossible, to afford any pecuniary assistance. Yours 

H. Grattan. 

We certify that the above is a true copy 
of the original letter — 
T. M'Can. 
A. Forbes. 

Mr. Dowdall to Mr. Grattan. 
Sir, — I have seen a letter from you to Mr. M'Can, 
wherein you are kind enough to express an apprehension 
that I may again bring myself into difficulties by political 
connexions, I beg leave in the most solemn manner to 
assure you that I have not, nor is it my intention to form 
any such connexion ; and that I have as much as possible 
avoided, since my return to Ireland, conversation on that 
subject with those who, from the character persecution 
had given me, would have confided to me their sentiments. 



I have the honour to be, Sir, your devoted and obliged 

William Dowdall. 
T ) Henry Grattan, Esq., 27th March, 1802. 
We certify that the above is a true copy 
of the original letter — 
T. M'Can. 
A. Forbes. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

April 1802. 

Dear M'Can, — I gave Dowdali my answer already, 
and did it with great concern: but he has himself rendered 
his request impossible. Can I recommend to any mer- 
chant's house a person who wishes to be a political agent? 
I can only repeat the advice which I formerly gave to no 
purpose, to keep out of all plots and politics. Yours 

Henry Grattan. 

We certify that the above is a true copy 
of the original letter — 
T. M'Can. 
A. Forbes. 

The British Minister had engaged Mr. Plowden 
to write on the subject of the Union, and expected 
to find in him an able defender of his measures ; 
but when Mr. Plowden came to Ireland, and 
ascertained the real state of affairs, justice in his 
mind prevailed, and, to his honour be it said, he 
wrote as he felt, not as Mr. Pitt and Mr. Adding- 
ton wished. The latter was surprised and dis- 
pleased, and Mr. Plowden was in consequence 
discountenanced by the court, but commended by 
the people. The letter of Mr. Plowden will dis- 
close the bond that united the Addington ad- 
ministration, it shows the conduct and feelings of 
the King, and his determined opposition to the 
Catholic question. The letters of Lord Fitzwilliam 
speak the goodness of his heart, and the kind 
feeling that on all occasions and under all circum- 
stances he manifested towards Mr. Grattan ; that 



to Mr. Plowden is true throughout, and is singu- 
larly applicable to the present time, when among 
the most elevated of the British senators a man 
has been found to make the revolutionary assertion 
that the Irish were " aliens in blood, aliens in 
language, aliens in religion." Fortunate for them- 
selves if they had been unanimously alien in 
politics. Mr. Addington's sentiments were worthy 
of his administration. Mr. Plowden's history 
shows his labour and his independence of mind, 
when he had spirit to write with freedom and 
without fear, regardless of a Government that 
would patronize him, and only mindful of the in- 
juries of the people whom he described. 

Lord Fitzwilliam to Mr. Grattan. 

Wentworth, Sept. 23rd, 1803. 
I was ignorant how little distant I was from a person I 
so much esteem, when Mr. Caldwell put your letter into 
my hands, but I felt the most sincere gratification, when I 
found myself in possession of your engagement to make 
me a visit. We shall remain in Yorkshire till November, 
and shall be always at home, except next week, when we 
go to Doncaster races. Lady Fitzwilliam depends upon 
the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Grattan, and, indeed, I must 
lay in a claim to that of seeing the whole family, the 
young ladies and the young gentlemen, to make whose ac- 
quaintance will be a great advantage and pleasure to Mil- 
ton. God be praised, he is getting well again — he has had 
a bad illness, but it is over — nothing remains but a little 
langour and feebleness. — Believe me, with the utmost sin- 
cerity, most truly, yours. 

Wentworth Fitzwiliam. 

Lord Fitzwilliam to Mr. Plowden. 

Wentworth, Sept. 26th, 1803. 
Sir, — The very same sentiments, which directed me to 
decline the perusal of the manuscript, dictated me to de- 
cline giving my opinion upon the publication. I mean as 
far as it has relation to my administration in Ireland, upon 
that subject I cannot make a single remark. 




But whilst I decline making any remark upon that part 
of the work, I feel the greatest obligation to an author, 
who has dared to meet universal prejudice, by tearing away 
the veil of fictitious story, and exposing facts such as they 

This work has brought before the public this truth, little 
know n and little thought of, that the Irish nation has con- 
sisted of two distinct and separate people:* the English 
and the Native Irish, the conqueror and the conquered : 
and that this distinction and separation has been systema- 
tically and industriously kept up, not by the animosity of 
the conquered, but by the policy of the conqueror. An 
exposition of such a system, let us hope, will render it too 
odious to be persevered in: it will force even its abettors, 
and those interested in its continuation to abandon it. I 
know not whether those who first proposed to you, to give 
to the public a small portion of Irish History, may be 
pleased with what has been the consequence of that pro- 
posal or not; but eveiy man who feels an interest in the 
unity of the British and Irish people, will feel more obli- 
gation to him whose literary labours produce in the public 
mind, principles of harmony, conciliation, and good fellow- 
ship, than to all the most skilful artists in coercive restric- 
tions. — I have the honour to be, with much esteem, Sir, 
your most obedient servant, 

Wentworth Fitzwilliam. 

Francis Plowden to Mr. Grattan. 

London, Essex Street, 3th Oct. 1803. 
Sir, — The veneration I have for your character and 
judgment has hitherto deterred me from daring to present 
you a copy of my Historical Review of the State of Ire- 
land, lest some things in it should meet your censure. I am 
now, however, emboldened to take that liberty, shielding 
myself under the approbation of your friend Lord Fitz- 
william (a copy of whose letter I enclose) against your 
judgment upon the failings, deficiencies, and errors of an 
author who is a stranger to your land, who has been 
imperfectly furnished with materials, much straitened in 

* A most forcible though happily an exaggerated picture of this 
division of Ireland will be found in " Ireland and its Rulers," a recent 
work, wherein one regrets to find so much bitterness and injustice 
joined to manly principles, strong national feeling, honourable scorn of 
whatever is base, and an eminently graphic style. 



time, and commanding no requisite but good will, to render 
historical justice to your country. 

I beg leave to add to you in confidence, that having 
received Lord Fitzwilliam's letter on the day I had an 
appointment with Mr. Addington, to speak to him upon 
the subject of my history, I learned, unequivocally, from 
him, that it gave him both displeasure and offence ; that 
as I wrote it under his sanction and countenance, / ought 
to have rendered it pliant to what I must have known to be 
his principle and inclination towards Ireland. I replied 
that I had pledged my word to write a true, impartial, and 
authentic History of Ireland, which, I conceived, would 
tend to harmonise that country and secure its affections to 
Great Britain, and that I humbly conceived that I had 
faithfully acquitted myself of my undertaking, and I 
showed him Lord Fitzwilliam's letter as a proof that in 
the eyes of some I had accomplished the object I had in 
view. He assured me that the commendation of that noble- 
man (however respectable his private character might be) 
was my strongest condemnation in his eyes — who had al- 
ways been at issue with his Lordship on the affairs of 
Ireland. That his determined opposition to the question of 
Catholic Emancipation, was the tenure by which he had ac- 
quired and retained his situation ! by that he stood in that 
house! and that his mind was made up to it upon reason 
and conscience. He had not read a line of my work, but 
was informed that I had spoken too freely, and to the pre- 
judice of those to whom they looked up (the Orangemen) 
for the salvation of the country, and, particularly, of the 
late Castle junto — Lord Clare, the Beresfords, and Mr. 
Foster. He thought himself entitled to assume merit for 
suppressing his feelings upon the occasion. I have sent 
the books to Dublin by a private hand : I have a lively 
and grateful recollection of having spent one of the 
pleasantest days of my life at your house in 1793. 

I have the honour to be, with the highest esteem and 
respect, Sir, your devoted and obedient humble servant, 

Francis Plowden. 

In May, 1797, Mr. Fox had seceded from Par- 
liament, and only returned in December for the 
debate on the assessed taxes. From that period 
he took no part in public affairs, with the excep- 




tion of the discussion on the 3d February, 1800, 
when his Majesty sent a message to Parliament 
respecting the overtures of peace from Buona- 
parte's consular government. He returned, how- 
ever, on Mr. Pitt's retiring from office, on the 
14th of March, 1801, and warmly supported Mr. 
Grey's motion on the state of the nation. It is to 
be regretted, that on the two most important sub- 
jects, and the greatest calamities that could befall 
any country — the Irish Insurrection and the Irish 
Union — such a man as Mr. Fox should have ab- 
sented himself from Parliament. Mr. Sheridan 
was an Irishman, and his exertions in the House 
of Commons were always subject to that disad- 
vantage ; his efforts were, however, noble and 
laudable; and his repeated objections and divi- 
sions on the question of the Union, in opposition 
to the overwhelming majorities by which he was 
defeated, reflect on his patriotism and his talent 
the greatest praise. Mr. Fox's presence could 
not have turned the balance in favour of Ireland; 
but it was natural for her to expect that as he had 
assisted her in her efforts for independence in 
1782, he would have come forward to oppose the 
violation of that treaty which, on the part of Great 
Britain, he had negotiated. 

He was now desirous of forwarding the cause 
of the Catholics with more sincerity than Mr. 
Pitt displayed, but not with much power to 
assist them. The two great parties in the State 
were naturally desirous to strengthen their forces, 
and looked to the Irish recruits with which the 
British Parliament had been augmented. Whose 
they were to be, was now the point ; and Ireland 
and all her questions became the battle ground 
for a general canvass and conflict — religious as 
well as political. Mr. Fox acted with great sin- 
cerity, Mr. Pitt with very little ; the King with 



determined hostility, the Prince (his son) with 
the semblance of support, for all within was false 
and hollow. 

Mr. Fox conceiving it expedient to bring the 
question before Parliament, wrote to Mr. Grat- 
tan ; and from the reply it would seem that 
he wished it to be brought forward under his aus- 
pices, or those of Mr. Ponsonby. Mr. Grattan 
declined, and his letter will be found interesting, 
in consequence of his observations on the state 
and Government of Ireland. It is worthy of re- 
mark, that many passages apply even at this day. 
So difficult it is to acquire political knowledge, 
and practise wholesome rules of government — 
ministers and nations seldom learn from expe- 
rience ; they are only roused to a sense of duty 
and of justice by some overwhelming national 

The allusion in one of these letters to <tf his 
mm" refers to a corps of Yeomanry. It may be 
recollected that Mr. Grattan had, in 1798, retired 
from the corps of Cavalry in the county of Wick- 
low commanded by Lords Moncks and Powers- 
court : the violence and excesses committed in 
those times under the sanction, if not with the 
approbation of Government, was the cause. Lord 
Hardwicke (Lord Lieutenant) was a milder cha- 
racter, and adopted a different course ; and after 
the disturbance in 1803, Mr. Grattan offered to 
raise a corps on his estates in the Queen's county. 
This was at first refused, but subsequently Go- 
vernment thought proper to signify their assent, 
and granted him a commission of Captain to raise 
fifty men. This was speedily done ; and for the 
first time in that part of the country the Catholics 
were admitted into the Yeomanry. The neigh- 
bouring corps was of an exclusive character, and 
composed of Protestants, many of them Orange- 



men, who on festival days were accustomed to 
march with orange lilies in their caps, their bands 
playing party tunes. Mr. Grattan strove to alter 
this; he admitted Roman Catholics, got sergeants 
from the line to discipline the men, the expense 
of which cost upwards of 500/. ; he discounte- 
nanced everything like party spirit. The corps, 
however, got the name of the Virgin Mary Corps, 
but in the end mildness succeeded, the parties 
were brought together ; the most violent Orange- 
men associated with them, paraded and dined 
together; and afterwards, when the Yicarstown, 
which he commanded, was united with the Strad- 
bally corps, the junction was effected in perfect 
amity. The orange lilies and party tunes were 
abandoned, the Protestants marched from pa- 
rade to church, and the Catholics to chapel, and 
the mighty problem to reconcile two factions, 
which puzzled some statesmen, and could not be 
solved by others,* was effected by a country - 
gentleman with good sense, good temper, and 
good manners, but in one respect differing from 
the minister — that he had no interest in upholding 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Fox. 

My dear Sir, — I received your letter of the 27th. I 
shall speak to some of my friends in the city of Dublin. 
I entirely agree with you, that the Protestants ought to 
make a declaration to the purpose you mention. I shall 
recommend it to them strongly ; they made such a decla- 
ration in '95. How far they will adopt my recommenda- 
tion, I know not; they are cold and timid, and yet if they 
considered how necessary for what remains of their liberty 
it has become, to unite all the members of the empire 
ngainst a foreign power, I think they should be active. 

I wish you success, or if that at present is hopeless, that 

* The author heard the present minister, Sir Robert Peel, declare i 
the House of Commons, the impossibility of reconciling such parties. 



you may show to the Irish that they have able friends in 
England, and that the Catholics will find no connexion so 
beneficial. I think the debate so managed will do service. 
I lament that I cannot take part in it ; it is one of the few 
questions that makes me regret I am not in Parliament. 
I thank you much for your anxiety about my health ; I 
find myself recovering, and my friends dying about me.* 
I am glad to find that you enjoy health; however, it is 
on the same terms I mention, that we have the same losses 
to lament. My best regards to Mrs. Fox, and my most 
sincere affection to you. Believe me, my dear Sir, yours 

H. Grattan. 

Bray, Dec. 4th, 1803. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Fox. 

Stradbally, Dec. 9th, 1803. 

My dear Sir, — This moment I received your letter of 
the 28th, it was sent to me to Stradbally, where I had 
been some time attending my men. I shall in a few days 
write my opinion regarding the subject of your letter. 
I wish to write at large, and so request a few days, and in 
the interim a few words to say. 

I thank you for your anxiety about my health, which 1 
find wonderfully re-established, and I have, I think, quite 
got the better of the complaint in my head. Ponsonby is 
at a considerable distance, otherwise I should call on him 
to discourse with regard to the questions your letter pro- 
poses. At the same time with excellent understanding 
and great powers (this as confidential) Ponsonby is lazy, 
and might not like to recommend a measure f which 
buckled care upon his back. He would have much to 
prepare and much to encounter. He would have a fine 
opportunity of asserting himself and his principles in the 
great family of the empire ; I think he is equal to it, but 
he loves his ease, his bed, and is tired of the parliamentary 

You will please to remember me to Mrs. Fox in the 
strongest terms of regard, and believe, with greatest 
sincerity, yours ever, 

Henry Grattan. 

Mr. Latouche. 

f The Roman Catholic question. 


Mr. Grattan to Mr. Fox. 

Stradbally, Dec. 12th, 1803. 

My dear Sir, — Your idea is reducible to two ques- 
tions — whether a better system be not necessary to Ire- 
land's permanent allegiance? whether the rejection of that 
system would not hazard our present repose ? I incline to 
the affirmative of both propositions. The rejection of such 
a system, together with the acquiescence of our Parlia- 
ment in to7'ture, free quarter, and conflagration, produced 
the union with England. A similar proceeding at this 
instant in the British Parliament, accompanied with a 
justification of such violence, might lead to a union with 
France. The best way, perhaps, of showing immediate 
spirit is to bring forward the bad qualities of the enemy, 
but to keep in the background those of the Government. 
The question might be so greatly supported and the 
liberal sentiments so prevalent as to avoid my objection, 
but in that case the question would be substantially 
carried, and of such an event, so devoutly to be wished, I 
am no judge, not knowing the disposition or tone of the 
House ; but if the question be lost and debated as in the 
Irish Parliament, or as the Martial Law Bill was in the 
last English Parliament, the discussion would do mis- 
chief ; on that debate (I think it was in that debate) you 
and a few others had to stand against the representatives 
of England and against the representatives of Ireland — the 
latter giving false evidence against their country (they 
had before given corrupt votes), and the former making 
laws on that false evidence. 

As to the other question, namely, the change of system, 
I must entirely agree. The Union is not carried. The 
Parliament is destroyed, and that bond of union removed, 
but equality of conditions, civil or political, not even com- 
menced. All the subjects you mention — Catholic Emanci- 
pation (for such I must call it), payment of the Catholic 
clergy, tithe, and perhaps some little improvement regard- 
ing our church ; and, above all, a faithful and cordial 
execution by the executive magistrate of the laws in 
favour of the Catholics; their appointment to ^ share in 
offices to which they are now qualified (I believe there are 
scarcely any of them so advanced); the withdrawing from 
any intrigue to exclude them from the corporations, to 
which they are admissible, but excluded by a faction ; the 

VOL. V. R 


imposing silence on any Government press who would 
wish to sustain a religious war; the withdrawing the 
countenance of Government from all such who are noto- 
riously and inveterately foes to the Catholic body ; the 
gracious reception of their persons (it was so in the time of 
Lord Fitzwilliam). These things, the manners of the 
court, as well as their measures, would be absolutely 
necessary for that security and unity which you desire. 
Legislative 'provisions are not enough ; it is necessary that 
the Minister should love those provisions. Mr. Pitt lost the 
benefit of the Catholic Bill, because, after he had given the 
law to the Catholics, he gave the execution of the law and 
the Catholics to their enemies. 

That bill had hardly appeared when the leading Minis- 
ter of Ireland pronounced it an act of insanity , and formed 
an intrigue with the ascendancy party to exclude the 
Catholic from getting corporate freedom, to which, by that 
bill, he was qualified. The Irish Government press accom- 
panied laws of reconciliation by volumes of abuse against 
the parties to be reconciled. 

Mr. Pitt had never been able to raise a rebellion by his 
measure if he had not been assisted by the gross manners 
of his partizans. Therefore what you say is extremely 
just. Legislative provisions alone wont do. The general 
spirit of the executive government must be looked to. It 
was against the hostility of that general spirit that the 
people, notwithstanding their legal acquisitions, revolted ; 
a revolt very criminal, very senseless, but deriving its 
cause from the Government, which was guilty not only of 
its own crimes but the crimes of the people. 

I am the more fully convinced that the system caused the 
rebellion, and that allegiance — permanent, active allegiance 
— is only to be secured by its removal, when I consider the 
good effects that have attended its abatement. 

Without any alteration in the legal condition of this 
country, and merely by a temperate exercise of the exist- 
ing laws, the present chief governor of Ireland has more 
advanced the strength of Government and its credit, than 
could have been well conceived. A rebellion broke 
out in the capital : in a few days, without the torture, 
he discovered, I believe, 2,000 pikes; and in a very 
few weeks had more yeomen than Lord Camden in the 
whole of his government; and without a single act of 
violence put down, I think completely for the present, 



the insurrection ; or rather, he set up the laws, and made 
them put down rebellion ; withdrawing the credit of 
Government at the same time from religious and political 
controversy. From the manner in which this last re- 
bellion was put down, I incline to think that if Lord 
Hardwicke had been Viceroy, and Lord Redesdale Chan- 
cellor, in '98, the former rebellion had never existed ; but 
how far either have powers to effect that radical change, and 
to plant loyalty — permanent, unfeigned loyalti/ — in this 
country, I have great fears; rather, no hopes that I shall 
live to see that executive or legislative philanthropy that 
shall make the two countries act as one, not merely from the 
dread of France or the apprehension cf plunder from their 
own populace, but from the love of one another. Should 
such an event take place, I shall feel much joy, and you 
will feel much comfort in the consciousness of being the 
principal cause. 

I.request to be remembered to Mrs. Fox, and to my friend 
General Fitzpatrick, and -am, yours most truly, 

Henry Grattan. 

Charles James Fox, Esq. 

Mr. Fox to Mr. Grattan. 

London, March 17th, 1804. 
My dear Sir, — I have not for a long time had so much 
pleasure from any political news as from Mr. Bowes Daly's 
information that there is some probability of your coming 
again into Parliament for Dublin. Believe me it is a time 
when by so doing there is a chance of your being as useful 
as at any former period of your life. Ireland is the most 
in danger of any part of the empire ; and Ireland also is 
the country to which the application of liberal principles, 
and what I will call our system of policy, is most required, 
and may be most useful. It is better that the attempt 
should be made by us English, than that it should not 
be made at all ; but it would be made with a far better 
chance of success, both with respect to numbers and pub- 
lic impression, by an Irishman ; and of all Irishmen, by 

In the present disgraceful state of our Government, too, 
where it seems to be the system that no one man of any 
party, who has displayed any ability or character, should 
be employed. 

So far on public grounds ; but let me add that I may be 
R 2 


somewhat biassed by my private wishes that your business 
and duty should lead you to a country where we can 
sometimes meet, and at least, if no good can be done for 
the future, talk over past times. 

Mrs. Fox desires to be kindly remembered. I am very 
truly, my dear sir, yours ever, 

C. J. Fox. 

I go out of town in a few days. If you write, let it be 
to St. Ann's Hill. 

To Henry Grattan, Esq., Dublin. 

The following letter regards the publication of 
the memoirs of Lord Charlemont, by Mr. Hardy, 
who, after the struggles on behalf of Ireland, had 
retired to the county of Wicklow, and settled in 
the neighbourhood of Tinnehinch, close by Mr. 
Grattan. Attendance on Parliament had impaired 
a fortune that never was considerable, and with 
his wife an invalid, and a young family, he was 
left without any assistance or consolation what- 
ever, except that (which to an honest mind is the 
greatest), the reflection that he had faithfully dis- 
charged his duty to his country, and, in the midst of 
his distress, had unhesitatingly refused from Go- 
vernment great and tempting offers, such as would 
have raised him at once to affluence — offers, too, 
that some of his friends solicited him to accept. 
He was by nature and habit inclined to indolence 
— his mind was feeble, though polished, and he 
wanted the vigour necessary for those who are 
fated to contend with adverse fortune. His taste 
and love of literature led him to become the 
friend and admirer of Lord Charlemont, and, on 
his death, the present lord assented to the publish- 
ing the account of the tour in the Greek islands 
which his father had written : but Hardy was 
dilatory, suffered the opportunity to pass by, and 
hence the work never appeared. He was now 
urged to write the memoirs of the late lord, and 


Mr. Grattan and Mr. Berwick pressed him very 
anxiously, knowing in what esteem he held the 
name and virtues of Lord Charlemont. At length 
their suggestions prevailed, and Mr. Hardy pub- 
lished the memoirs in two volumes, in a manner 
that did honour to the taste and feelings of the 
writer, and to the distinguished character whose 
national services and private virtues he there com- 

The first of the following letters is a remarkable 
instance of the faults of style to which Mr. Grat- 
tan was liable. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick. 

October 24th, 1804. 

Thursday next, my clear doctor. 

I should have gone to the Duke of Leinster's funeral, 
but did not know of it, till it was over. The poor duke — 
we could not spare him — he is a public and a private loss 
— there are not many now left — it is a subject too melan- 
choly to dwell on — it is a most melancholy event — ac- 
companied with other melancholy events, and all together 
making life what it was intended to be — of little moment 
— a strife in which every day a friend is knocked on the 
head by your side, preparing us for what we must expect. 
I wished the country had not been knocked on the head 
also— for in the course of things she might have lived 
longer. — Yours, 

EL G. 

Our regards to Mrs. Berwick and the children. 
Same to Same. 

Stradbally, Nov. 23rd, 1803. 

It is too late, my dear doctor, to go back, he* has de- 
clared that he will publish, by subscription, the life of 
Lord Charlemont — he must go on with it. 

By relinquishing that plan he forfeits the chance of suc- 
ceeding with the other — for on what foundation does the 
other plan stand, except on the dereliction of a public ser- 

* Mr. Hardy. 


vice, which Hardy's declarations, situation, &c, have ren- 
dered necessary to him — such a plan will produce nothing 
except a silent censure and a miserable pittance. His 
own debts even will not be paid by it — the debt of respect 
which the public owe to him will — what you mention re- 
garding bills, is a proof that he has delayed the work, and 
has not a moment to lose, and it is a reason for collecting 
subscriptions for the work. Now, my advice to you is to 
apply immediately for subscriptions for the Life of Lord 
Charlemont, to be published in one volume, by Francis 
Hardy, Esq. — Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 




State of affairs on the continent of Europe in 1804 and 1805. — Conduct 
of Buonaparte. — II is letter to the King. — Parties in Parliament. — 
Mr. Addington. — Mr. Pitt. — Letters of Lord Kedesdale to Lord 
FingalJ. — Mr. Grattan solicited to return to Parliament. — Mr. Fox's 
letters. — Mr. Pitt's conduct to the Catholics. — His message to Lord 
Ilardwicke. — Proceedings of the Catholics. — Apply to Pitt. — Entrust 
their petition to Mr. Fox. — He moves on their petition. — Account of 
Mr. Grattan's speech in the Imperial Parliament. — Its success. — 
Pitt's remark. — Lord Byron's. — Letter to Mr. Grattan on the subject 
from Dr. O'Leary. — Lord Tyrawly. — Mr. Grattan's letter to Hardy 
and M'Can. — Breach between Pitt and Foster. — Mr. Grattan wishes 
to retire from Parliament. — Fox's letter. — Mr. Grattan to James 
Grattan on the study of history. — To Dr. Berwick. — Victory at Tra- 
falgar. — To Mr. Plowden. — Irish history. — Death of Mr. Pitt. — 
Change of administration. 

At the period when Mr. Fox applied to Mr. 
Grattan, in the following letter of March 1805, 
the affairs on the continent of Europe presented a 
very unfavourable appearance for the repose and 
security of England. The peace of Amiens con- 
cluded in October, 1801, had terminated in May, 
1803. Buonaparte was First Consul, and had 
dissipated a conspiracy that he accused England 
of fomenting. In February, 1804, he had got rid 
of Georges and Pichegru by death, and of 
Moreau by banishment. In April he had seized 
Sir George Rumbold, the British chargi d'affaires 
in Lower Saxony, and put him into prison. In 
March he had arrested the Duke D'Enghein, and 
shot him at Vincennes. And finally, in May, he 
got himself elected Emperor of the French. 



The pretexts for breaking the treaty of peace 
with Great Britain were various. The delay of 
abandoning Malta was advanced as the chief 
cause ; the negotiations had been protracted — 
political excuses were pretended ; but the real 
cause was the ambition of the French ruler, irri- 
tated, as he appeared to be, by the intrigues he 
imputed to England, and by the licentiousness of 
her Press, whose attacks he felt and complained 
of. At this time France had possession of a great 
portion of Europe ; Buonaparte aimed at the en- 
tire ; and as he found England his chief obstacle, 
he prepared every effort to overcome her. He 
got Spain at last to join in opposition to England ; 
he got Genoa to undertake to supply him with 
6,000 seamen ; he formed a flotilla at Boulogne, 
and encamped 100,000 men on tfie heights in 
view of England, and exercised them incessantly 
in naval and military tactics. His influence ex- 
tended, directly or indirectly, over Italy, Naples, 
Switzerland, Piedmont, and Spain was now added 
to the confederacy. 

Still the most specious professions of peace 
were held out, — offers were personally made by 
the Emperor ; and he commenced the year 1805 
with an autograph letter to the King of England, 
professing deep anxiety for friendly terms and the 
restoration of peace. His letter was coldly re- 
ceived, answered not by the King, but by one of 
the Ministers. Buonaparte feeling himself re- 
pulsed, grew angry and meditated revenge ; and 
this he fully but fatally enjoyed within the short 
space of one year, in the death of Nelson,* the 
victory at Austerlitz,| and the demise of Pitt.J 

* 21st October, 1805. 

f 2nd December, 1805, Austrians and Prussians defeated by Napo- 
leon, whose account states 30,000 prisoners, and twenty generals, and 
forty standards of the Russian Imperial Guard. 

% 23rd January, 1806. 


The state of parties in England at the beginning 
of 1805 was unsettled and singular. None of the 
various bodies that directed political measures 
were popular with the people of either country. 
Mr. Addington * had been tried, and had failed 
through incompetency. However he was re-ad- 
mitted by Mr. Pitt soon after ; but this did not 
add to the strength of that party ; and although 
Mr. Pittf introduced Lord Castlereagh and Mr. 
Canning, yet he lost Lord Grenville (in himself a 
host). He had declared Mr. Addington incapable 
— he found him intolerant ; yet he joined that in- 
capacity and added to that intolerance, even after 
the letter from Lord Grenville condemning it. 

* In 1805 he was made President of the Council; his private inter- 
yiews and his influence with the King forced him back to power. 

f On the 10th of May, 1804, Mr. Addington resigned the office of 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Mr. Pitt was appointed to succeed 
him. The following was the list of the new administration : — 
First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Right Hon. 

W r illiam Pitt. 
President of the Council, Duke of Portland. 
Lord Chancellor, Lord Eldon. 
Lord Privy Seal, Earl of Westmoreland. 
First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Viscount Melville. 
Master General of the Ordnance, Earl of Chatham. 
Secretary of State for the Home Department, Lord Ilawkesbury. 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord Harrowby. 
Secretary of State for the Department of War and the Colonies, Earl 

President of the Board of Control for the Affairs of India, Lord Cas- 

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Lord Mulgrave. 

Secretary at War, Right Hon. William Dundas. 

Treasurer of the Navy, Right Hon. George Canning. 

Joint Paymasters of His Majesty's Forces, Right Hon. George Rose, 

Right Hon. Charles Somerset. 
Joint Postmasters General, Duke of Montrose, Lord Charles Spencer. 
Secretaries of the Treasury, William Huskisson, Esq., William Sturges 

Bourne, Esq. 
Master of the Rolls, Sir William Grant. 
Attorney-General, Hon. Spencer Perceval. 
Solicitor-General, Sir Thomas Manners Sutton. 
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Earl of Hardwicke. 
Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Lord Redesdale. 
Chief Secretary for Ireland, Sir Evan Nepean. 
Chancellor of the Exchequer for Ireland, Right Hon. Isaac Corry. 


He introduced into Government a new and formid- 
able principle, — namely, an engagement not to 
bring forward particular measures that might prove 
disagreeable to the King. This practice, so preg- 
nant with danger, was wholly unknown to the 
Constitution, and was justly condemned by the 
succeeding Ministry in 1807 ; but it gained for 
him the King's party, which constituted his main 
strength in the House of Commons. By this he 
was bound to keep up the exclusive principle as 
regarded Ireland, which had formed the bond of 
Mr. Addington's Government, and to which Mr. 
Pitt now gave an additional proof of his adhesion 
by continuing Lord Redesdale as Chancellor in 
Ireland, after he had given such public and de- 
cisive proofs of his disqualification in the letters 
he addressed to Lord Fin gall. 

Mr. Fox's party was rather on the increase, and 
among his friends were persons of known liberal 
principles, and men of very considerable* talents 
and of rising abilities; but they had not the King, 
neither had they the people ; the Irish deprived 
them of the former and Buonaparte of the latter. 
The King would not listen to overtures from the 
Catholics, and the English would listen to nothing 
from France. Mr. Pitt's was the war party, — the 
hatred of Buonaparte and the activity of the Press 
upheld him ; for he had gained little character by 
his conduct to the Irish, and little strength by 
discarding Mr. Addington at one period and rein- 
stating him at another. The reflecting portion of 
the community were also beginning to think that 
the most likely way to conquer Buonaparte was 
to leave him to his ambition and his extravagant 
aggressions, which they knew were often likely to 
react on their author and bring him to destruction. 
Some coldness, too, was perceivable as to conti- 
nental coalitions, that had already proved so fruit- 


less and so expensive. But as the weakness of 
Mr. Addington's administration had vexed the 
people, so the preparations of the French now 
roused them, Mr. Pitt called upon all classes — 
the army of reserve — the militias — the volunteers ; 
they were all brought forth into action. He 
paraded with them — he reviewed them — in per- 
son lie inspected them — he roused their spirit — he 
marshalled their numbers ; and amidst the cheers 
of England, pointing to the opposing camp at 
Boulogne and to the flotilla of France, he viewed 
them with scorn and set them at defiance. 

As regarded Irish affairs, there was no Irish 
standard, and as yet no Irish question. The 
Union seemed to have kept the Irish mind in 
abeyance, and men waited to behold the working 
of the grand imperial measure which had promised 
so much and was to effect everything. The dis- 
turbances of 1803 had somewhat thrown back the 
Catholics ; they were silent and apathetic — dis- 
contented, though not disaffected. At length 
they were roused* by the imprudence of Lord 
Redesdale, the Irish Chancellor, who, on granting 
in 1803 the commission of the peace to Lord Fin- 
gall, had addressed to him a letter expressing sen- 
timents with regard to the Catholics most intole- 
rant and offensive, — injurious to their character 
as loyal subjects, and insulting to their faith as 
Christians. This produced a spirited and able 
reply from Lord Fingall, and several letters were 
written on both sides : as regarded argument the 
contest was soon decided ; for the calm and 
dignified tone used by Lord Fingall left little 
doubt on the mind of any unprejudiced per- 

* Sir John Wrottesley, in his motion on the subject of Ireland, 
brought the affairs of that country, and the conduct of Government in 
1803, under the consideration of the House. 



son on which side lay the victory, as well as 
the right.* 

In the English House the Irish had no party 
and no power. Mr. Ponsonby had entered Par- 
liament, and his connexion with English families, 
in addition to his talents and his name, deservedly 
gave him considerable weight ; but it was indi- 
vidual importance, not national. The high Irish 
Protestant party who were in the House were 
neither numerous nor able ; and it did not seem 
to be Mr. Pitt's f desire to encourage them. Their 
ready and unhesitating support of the strong- 
measures continued by the Imperial Parliament 
against Ireland (martial law and suspension of the 
Habeas Corpus Act), could not be very acceptable 
to any man who (like Mr. Pitt) professed a regard 
for free institutions, and who had promised very 
different results to follow from the Union. These 
men had little weight in Parliament, and had only 
a chance of being elevated by some violent out- 
burst of religious bigotry ; but neither Mr. Ad- 
dington nor Lord Redesdale were daring enough 
to call into active operation their mischievous 
qualities, and therefore they remained inoperative 
till the time of Mr. Perceval and Mr. Peel. 

At this juncture Mr, Fox considered it an im- 
portant object to bring over such a person as Mr. 
Grattan, in whom, exclusive of the attachment he 
always had entertained for him, he beheld a leader 
around whom the Irish party were likely perhaps 
to rally, and under whom they would be more 
likely to act with unity and effect. Another step, 

* They were commented on by Mr. Fox and Mr. Canning in Parlia- 
ment with just seventy, and contributed to the fall of the Addington 
administration ; Mr. Perceval maintained there would have been no evil 
in writing the letters if they had not been published ! 

f Note his remarks on Lord Clare when speaking in the Lords about 
Ireland, ante, vol. iii. p. 403. 



as he thought, would be gained if Mr. Grattan 
could be induced to assist in English affairs, 
as he knew him to be a man of bold resolve, but 
of prudence and caution, and firmly opposed to 
everything like French politics. The aid of 
the Irish auxiliaries had already been recognised 
by Mr. Pitt with a seeming, though affected, gra- 
titude, when he congratulated the country on one 
of the benefits of the Union — namely, that the 
Irish members had occasioned the majority that 
carried the resolution in favour of the abolition of 
the slave trade. 

But Mr. Grattan did not enter so far into the 
views of Mr. Fox ; he thought it better that his 
exertions should be limited to services towards 
Ireland, and he was not so fondly wedded to the 
principle or name of a Union, as to embark heart 
and hand in the tempestuous sea or corrupt 
schemes of British politics. Besides this, the 
Irish members were but strangers in a new coun- 
try, and not bold enough to set up a standard of 
their own. Many of them preferred to wait for 
their chance of a few crumbs from the great man's 
table ; others felt that they were degraded by the 
act of Union — the iron had entered into their souls 
and fast bound them — gold had touched their 
palms and bribed them — they were lowered in 
their own esteem, and as yet did not feel or take 
courage to recover their proper level as the repre- 
sentatives of a nation. 

Such being the state of things, Mr. Grattan was 
called upon by Lord Fitzwilliam and Mr. Fox, and 
at length was induced to enter the Imperial Par- 
liament. Some of his friends said he never should 
have gone there ; others that his efforts would 
prove unavailing, and that he would do the state 
no service ; but he wished to benefit Ireland, to 
forward the Catholic cause, and, if possible, to 



keep the two countries connected together ; for 
he was always as strongly averse to separation as 
he was to Union. He thought that Ireland could 
not form a better connexion with any other nation, 
and if left to herself, so far as was consistent with 
the English connexion, and freed from corrupt in- 
fluence, she could prosper much more speedily 
and advance with greater certainty, than if at- 
tached to any other country which would keep 
her in a state of garrison, afraid lest she should be 
retaken by England. Had the population been 
larger and more united, or the distance between 
the two islands greater, he might have seen 
another possible condition, — namely, absolute in- 
dependence and separation ; for he would not 
have been startled by the boldness of the idea. 
He always considered the power of France very 
formidable, but not dangerous, unless increased by 
the imprudence of the British Minister, and the 
consequent discontent of the Irish people. Im- 
pressed with sentiments such as these, he was 
persuaded to accept a seat in Parliament under 
the patronage of his former friend, Lord Fitz- 
william. At the commencement of his political 
life in both countries he was indebted to indivi- 
duals for his return to Parliament, — -in Ireland 
to the friendship of Lord Charlemont — in England 
to that of Lord Fitzwilliam ; two of the best, the 
most virtuous, and noble-minded men that could 
be found in any kingdom. 

Mr. Fox to Mr. Grattan. 

Arlington Street, London, Wednesday, March 13th, 1805. 
Dear Sir, — The business is now so far settled, that I 
can undertake that* the writ will be moved either on Fri- 
day or Monday next, and consequently that you will be 

* Mr. Dundas vacated his seat to make way, at Lord Fitzwilliam'^ 
request, for Mr. Grattan. 



elected in ten or twelve clays from this date. You cannot 
imagine how much pleasure your consent to this arrange- 
ment has given me, and more especially since I learn this 
day, that the petition* will be put into my hands. Pitt 
has peremptorily refused having anything to do with it, and 
the delegates have in consequence determined to apply to 
Lord Grenville, Lord Fitzwilliam, and me. The advantage 
of this plan appears to me to be, that the next best thing 
to carrying the question, is to give reasonable hopes to the 
Irish that it will be carried, and so to deter them from 
desperate courses. Xow this cannot be effected so well as 
by marking that all parties, except the King's and all 
considerable men (whether for property, talents, or rank) 
except Pitt, are pledged to mahe it part of their system, 
while even Pitt only objects to the time. 

The course I take it will be this ; the petition may be 
presented next week, or the week after, and a general 
notice given that a motion will be grounded on it soon 
after the holidays. This delay is not amiss for the purpose 
of giving solemnity to the business, and is partly necessary 
on account of those Irish members, who must attend the 
circuits in April. For many reasons the sooner you come 
the better, and especially if you could be time enough to 
be present at the presentation of the petition, and to say, 
even on that occasion, a word or two on its importance. 
If one knew of your coming, a short delay in the presenta- 
tion could easily be contrived. Pray write by return of 
post. — Yours ever, sincerely, 

C. J. Fox. 

Mr. Fox to Mr. Grattax. 

London, March 10th, 1805. 
My dear Sir, — I received yours yesterday, and lose no 
time in telling you, that you need not think of hurrying 
yourself. There is no chance of the Catholic business 
coming on in any questionable shape before Easter; and, 

* The Roman Catholic petition praying for the repeal of the penal 
laws still in force against them. Previous to the Union, in 1799, Mr. 
Pitt had stated that their demands should be considered in the Imperial 
Parliament ; at the Union, in 1800, he was said to have given a pledge 
to concede the claims ; and after the Union, in 1801, he had under his 
own hand pledged himself not to take office unless they were granted, 
but from the above it appeared he declared he would not have anything to 
do with than. W hat opinion can posterity form of such conduct? 



indeed, there seems to be a doubt whether, from the way 
in which the delegates understand their instructions, it may 
not be necessary for them to resort to their constituents for 
new instructions, or at least to their committee for explan- 
ations. As soon as anything is settled I will let you know. 
In the mean time the seat for you is, and will continue to 
be ready, when wanted. But I think it as well that the 
writ should not be moved till the Easter recess, at soonest, 
or rather till we know certainly that the Catholic business 
will come on in a short time. 

From what you say, I conclude this plan will be most 
agreeable to your notions. The seat can always be vacated 
at a few hours' notice. The delegates are to come to Lord 
Grenville and me, in a formal manner on Monday, when, 
of course, the matter will be cleared up. — I am, my dear 
Sir, yours very truly, 

C. J. Fox. 

H. Grattan, Esq., near Bray, Ireland. 

Mr. Fox to Mr. Grattan. 
Arlington Street, London, Saturday, March 23rd, 1805. 
My dear Sir, — I received yours yesterday. You will 
know from my letter of the beginning of the week, that 
there will be full time for any preparation you may wish. 
If I did not feel myself quite sure that your fame runs no 
risk, I would not have suggested the plan on any account 
whatever ; for, exclusive of my personal regard, I consider 
the reputation of such men as you, as of infinite conse- 
quence to the public, and to the general interests of liberty 
and virtue, and consequently any circumstance that would 
tend to tarnish the splendour of such characters, or even to 
raise a doubt of their genius, would appear to me most 

You may depend on the condition (of your going out, if 
you choose it, when the business is over) being agreed to. 
— Yours ever. 

C. J. Fox. 
Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick. 

Tinnehinch, 13th April, 1805. 

My dear Doctor, — I should go to you certainly, but 
it is impossible. I must go to England to-morrow. 

Mrs. Latouche will see nobody, otherwise I should have 



gone to her. I have no hopes — the best of her sex, and 
most accomplished* — but she will not recover. I should 
have been inconsolable if anything had happened to 
Richard Marlay.f I do not believe I am yet returned to 
Parliament, but will be soon. — Yours, most truly, 

H. G. 

Dr. Berwick, Esker, Leixlip. 

Lord Fitzwilliam to Mr. Grattax. 

Wentworth, April 27th, 1805. 
1)ear Grattan, — Without receiving the sanction of 
your consent, the worthy electors of Malton, duly elected 
Henry Grattan, Esq., their representative, on Tuesday last. 
I hope their proceeding will be acceptable. The writ will 
of course be found returned to the proper office. — With 
sincerest regard and esteem, most truly yours, 

Wentworth Fitzwilliam. 

The Catholics were now doomed to experience 
deep humiliation and bitter disappointment, — a 
just punishment for those among that body who 
had been weak enough to hearken to the false 
promises of the Minister, and to part with the 
liberties of their country. Mr. Pitt, rinding him- 
self embarrassed by the situation in which he stood 
as to the Catholics, and by the pledges he had 
given at the time of the Union, had directed Lord 
Hawkesbury (in January, 1805) to write to Lord 
Hardwicke that the discussion of the Catholic 
question would very much embarrass the Minis- 
ters, and would be determinately resisted by him. 
This letter was communicated to Lord Fingall, 
and laid before the Catholic committee. Several 
attempts had been made by the Lord-Lieutenant 
and his secretary (Sir Evan Nepean) to gain favour 
with the Catholics, in order to accomplish the 

* She died very shortly after; she was a charming person, celebrated 
for her beauty, admired by all who knew her. 

f Son of his uncle and early friend Colonel Thomas Marlay, who 
aided him in 1782, see vol. ii. ante. 
VOL. V. S 



wishes of Mr. Pitt, and deter them from making 
any application ; and accordingly many persons 
appeared disposed not to urge their claims. 
Counsellor Bellew was averse to any petition 
being presented, and to this opinion Lord Fingall 
seemed to incline, till Mr. O'Connell and Mr. 
Scully declared they would forward their petition; 
upon which the committee (on the 6th of February) 
resolved that a deputation of five members — Lord 
Fingall, Sir F. (afterwards Lord) French, Sir'E. 
Bellew, Denys Scully, and James Ryan — -should 
be sent to Mr. Pitt to request that he would pre- 
sent the Catholic petition to Parliament, and they 
were to add that if he was restrained by strong 
reasons (meaning the King) from supporting it, that 
they would not then press for the adoption of the 
measure prayed for; that if he refused, they 
would apply to another person. On the 12th of 
March they had an interview with Mr. Pitt, who 
declined to present it, stating that he had strong 
and decisive objections against it. The interview 
lasted a considerable time. The deputies tried 
the Minister in various ways, reminding him of 
the Union,— of the hopes then held out, the ad- 
vantage he would have if he monopolized the 
feelings of the Catholics and the presentation of 
their request {for their right he took care to deny at 
once). They almost supplicated him, and stooped 
to bring him round ; but he was obdurate, and 
answered them drily — saying, he would feel it his 
duty to resist it. Their conduct was that of sup- 
pliants — they were not free — and as such they 
acted ; but their conduct was sublime in com- 
parison with that of the man they addressed ; for 
who would have believed that at that moment 
Mr. Pitt had not only violated the pledge he had 
given in the memorandum drawn by Lord Castle- 
reagh on his behalf, and given by Lord Cornwallis 



to Dr. Troy, declaring he would not accept office 
except on the terms of Catholic privileges being 
granted, and upon which he had gone out of office 
in 1801,* but having returned in 1804, in direct 
violation of that compact, he went immeasurably 
further, for li he voluntarily engaged never again to 
bring the subject under the consideration of his 
Majesty!!" This extraordinary and unconstitu- 
tional proceeding of Mr. Pitt, in direct violation 
of his duty as Minister and oath as Privy Coun- 
cillor, and of the positive engagement entered into 
along with Lord Cornwallis, was not publicly 
known, and only transpired through the impru- 
dence of Lord Hawkesbury when he was (in 1807) 
debating the grounds on which Lords Grey and 
Grenville had retired from office. f He disclosed 
most unexpectedly this state secret, and published 
to the world tiie base and unconstitutional engage- 
ment. The Catholic deputation knew as little of 
Mr. Pitt in 1805 as the Catholic people did in 
1800, or they might have been saved the trouble 
and humiliation of applying in so abject a manner 
to a man who had so grievously duped and de- 
ceived them ; but it was not until after Mr. Pitt's 
death that the disgraceful compact which he had 
entered into with the King was discovered ; — a 
compact so fatal to his fame as a statesman, dero- 
gatory to the dignity and duty of a Prime Minister, 
and so disreputable to him as a man of honour. 

Disappointed as to Mr. Pitt, the Catholics ap- 
plied to Lord Grenville and Mr. Fox, and to them 
they entrusted the presentation of their petition to 
the Imperial Parliament. It was presented by Mr. 

* On the 8th of May, 1801, Lord Grenville wrote a very strong letter 
to Mr. Pitt, severely condemning the exclusive principle on which the 
new administration was formed. In 1804 Mr. Pitt made it more ex- 
clusive still. 

f See Parliamentary Debates of 1807, on the question regarding the 
late administration. 

s 2 


Fox, and laid on the table on the 25th of March; 
and on the 13th of May he moved that it should be 
referred to the consideration of a committee of the 
whole House* It was ably supported by Mr. 
Fox ; and opposed by Mr. Pitt, on the ground 
that the present was not the proper time. He did 
not say what would be the proper time ; but from 
his statements it was to be inferred that it must 
be on a change in the King's sentiments or on his 
demise. Thus was Ireland insanely sacrificed to 
royal scruples or royal conscience. The debate 
lasted two days, and on a division the numbers 
were — for Mr. Fox's motion 124, and against it 
336; majority against the Catholics, 212. In 
the House of Lords the petition was presented by 
Lord Grenville, and his motion for a committee 
was rejected by 178 to 49. Such were the first 
fruits of the Union, and such was the fulfilment 
of the pledges, without which, as Lord Suffolk 
said in the debate, Mr. Pitt would not have carried 
the Union. 

As this was the trial of Mr. Grattan in the Im- 
perial Parliament, much curiosity was awakened, 
and much anxiety was felt among his friends on 
the occasion. They had not forgotten the words 
that he had applied to Mr. Flood — "he was a 
tree of the forest, too old to be transplanted at 50." 
The fate that had attended Lord Clare, and the 
want of success on the part of Mr. Flood, added 
to the interest respecting this individual — the man 
who had for so long opposed the imperious con- 
duct of Great Britain, denied her authority, de- 
fied her ministers and defeated their power, — he 
was now to appear before an assembly chosen by 
that nation whose pride in 1782 he had humbled, 
but who by fraud had triumphed in 1800 over his 
country. The question, too, which was the occa- 
sion of his entrance into Parliament, and one of 



the greatest importance to the empire, was by no 
means popular in that assembly. The rights of 
the people of Ireland had never been received with 
cordiality or listened to with pleasure, though 
they were appeals to freedom ; and the claims of 
the Roman Catholics had still to surmount great 
difficulties and great prejudices before they could 
effectually pierce the foggy atmosphere of St. 
Stephen's, and remove the cold insensible mass 
that weighed down the destinies of the country. 

The Irish Church had sent forward their chosen 
champion, the representative of the Primate of all 
Ireland, as the opponent of Catholic emancipa- 
tion ; fortunately it was Dr. Duigenan. He came 
forward on this occasion to oppose the demands 
of the Catholics, yet notwithstanding the preju- 
dices of the day, he made little impression. He 
tried his ponderous theology, but to no purpose ; 
for he had " neither wit, nor words, nor worth, 
action or utterance, or the power of speech to 
stir men's blood." His appearance was forbid- 
ding, his manner was most ungracious, his tones 
most unpleasing. Altogether the exhibition threw 
an air of ridicule and burlesque upon the cause 
he was sent to support ; his doctrines, though 
high-church, were not even palatable. The mem- 
bers, however, as happens too often in that 
assembly, honoured him with their vote, though 
they withheld their applause. The learned doctor 
failed most completely, and the cause of the 
Catholics triumphed by the discredit that fell 
upon its most violent opponent. After he sat 
down, Mr. Grattan rose to reply. His voice was 
strong, and free from the accent that impaired 
Burke's, though not sufficiently mellow. His 
figure was small and his gesture was peculiar, 
still it made an impression, because it followed 



the impulse of a mind strongly impassioned and 
full of the subject. 

The House paused for some time before they 
signified any opinion as to the individual upon 
trial ; both parties looked to their several par- 
tizans, — the one to Mr. Fox, the other to Mr. 
Pitt. Each seemed to wait for the signal from 
their respective leader. Mr. Pitt sat all attention, 
his face resting upon his hand, and gave no 
symptom either of favour or of disapprobation. 
No emotion was visible on his part until Mr. 
Grattan, alluding to Dr. Duigenan, said — " his 
speech consists of four parts. First, an invective 
uttered against the religion of the Catholics ; 
second, an invective uttered against the present 
generation; third, an invective uttered against 
the past; and fourth, an invective against the 
future. Here the limits of creation interposed 
and stopped the number. It is to defend these 
different generations and their religion that I rise 
— to rescue the Catholics from his attack and the 
Protestant from his defence." Upon this Mr. 
Pitt cried out ''Hear! hear! hear!" This was 
the signal for his party — his followers caught the 
cry ; those who paused before, no longer hesi- 
tated, — they cheered vociferously and were fully 
responded to by the opposition, and the entire 
assembly joined in loud applause. Mr. Grattan's 
success was established —the triumph was com- 
plete. Pitt turned to one of the members who 
sat by him, and said, " Burke told me that Grattan 
was a great man for a 'popular assembly, and now I 
believe it" In short, the speech he delivered was 
attended with the most complete success,*. — it pro- 

* Lord Byron thus describes the scene in one of his letters : — " When 
the ministerial part of our senators had watched Pitt (their thermometer) 
for the cue, and saw him nod repeatedly, his stately nod of approbation, 
they took the hint from their huntsman and broke out into the most 


duced great effect. The style was new, the man- 
ner was singular, the matter was so disposed as to 
please all. There was philosophy, sound political 
doctrine, polished satire, terse logic, brilliant ora- 
tory, and a spirit of nationality that was congenial 
to the heart of every freeman. Mr. Fox and the 
Whig party were highly gratified, Lord Fitzwilliam 
and his friends were in delight, and Mr. Grattan 
was complimented, visited, praised, and flattered 
by the leading men of both parties in England. 
Of the numerous complimentary letters the two 
following are selected. 

Dr. O'Leary to Mr. Grattan. 

May 25th, 1805. 
T is not in mortals to command success, 
But we'll do better — we'll deserve it. 

My dear Grattan, — I congratulate you, myself, and 
ray country, on the honour your speech on the Catholic 
question has conferred on us. I have had many authentic 
accounts of the splendour of the performance, and the 
enthusiasm of its reception, and, indeed, I cannot express 
the satisfaction I felt at finding that it was not only equal 
to my expectation, but to my wishes. I have a little 
grandson, of about ten years old, who, after reading the 
debate, made the following silly observation. " Mr. Fox 
and Mr. Grattan were insuperable, they formed as it were 
a great mountain, — Mr. Fox, who was the foundation, had 
solidity and comprehension, Mr. Grattan was the toji, 
whose sublimity touched the heavens." A few words now 
as to myself. I have long thought that age and refine- 
ment had extinguished every spark of pride, and suppressed 
every passion for praise, in my breast. But to find my 
name* inserted in the rolls of fame by such a band as 

rapturous cheers. Grattan's speech indeed deserved them — it was a 
" c/ief'd , oeuvre. ,} I did not hear that speech of his (being then at Har- 
row), but heard most of his others on the same question — also that of 
the war of 1815. I differed from his opinion on the latter question, but 
coincided in the general admiration of his eloquence. ***** 
I was much struck with the simplicity of Grattan's manners in private 
life — they were odd, but they were natural." 
* He was alluded to in Mr. Grattan's speech. 


yours, has, I must confess, awakened my sensibility, and 
reanimated my expiring pride. 'T is true offerings and 
sacrifices are made to partiality, perhaps, as often as to 
piety, and, though I know yours in the present instance 
have proceeded from the former, I thank you for them. — 
Believe me, with truth and affection, your sincere friend 
and faithful confessor, 

Father O'Leary. 
Lord Tyrawly to Mr, Grattan. 

Moore Abbey , Monastereven, Ireland, May 24th, 1805. 

My dear Grattan, — Your debut in Parliament has 
struck your enemies dumb, and made your friends trium- 
phant and happy, you have exceeded even my expectations. 
I hope the great Author of your being (to whom alone I 
pray) may grant you for a long while, good health, and the 
possession of those great talents with which he has en- 
dowed you, to support and protect your family, and to do 
honour to the land that boasts of having given you birth. 

All the rational Roman Catholics think (and I agree 
with them) that you have ensured the ultimate success of 
their favourite measure, and seem indifferent as to the 
moment when it may be accomplished. 

I advised you never to go into Parliament, unless called 
there by some great occasion, and you condescended to 
listen to me. I conjure you for your honour, and the ad- 
vantage of the empire, never to quit Parliament as long as 
you can articulate. 

Your situation in life is now much higher and greater 
than it ever was, or, indeed, could be in this country. You 
are received, admired by, and identified with a great, en- 
lightened, and generous people — unlike the rabble of this 
country — that one day would draw you in your triumphal 
car to the Senate House, and the next, at the instance of 
such a mountebank as Dr. Duigenan, drag you in a cart 
to the place of execution. You and your family have the 
warmest affections of all under my roof. — My dear Grattan, 
yours, ever most truly, 


II. Grattan, Esq., Madcjox Street, Hanover Square. 


Mb. G rattan to Mr. Berwick. 

9, Maddox Street, London, June 10th, 1805. 

My dear Doctor, — I got your letter, and am glad to 
hear so good an account of your health. You seem in 
good spirits, but in gloomy neighbourhood. Your two 
best neighbours, one is dead, the other distracted. The 
loss of Mrs. Latouche is irreparable. Mrs. Vesey has 
good sense to see it. The breaking up of Mrs. Latouche's 
house was, to me, the loss of private society in Dublin. 

Ihe Union, the loss of political life. The papers tell 
you everything that I can tell you, except that they do 
not give you anything of my speech, which, when it 
comes out, shall be sent to you. 

I wrote a long letter to Hardy, containing what was 
more important than intelligence, namely, what I knew 
related to himself — he has no chance, but Lord Charle- 
mont's Life and the publication of the History of Italian 
Poetry, that may support him till something happens, 
which is not very proximate. Lord Charlemont wrote to 
him, and told me I might write to him also, and assure 
him, that he might now publish that history, which he 
would get in his library. If he is afraid to go there, do 
you, and get the book, and use your influence with him 
not to delay. He has no excuse now, he has had for the 
life, time, materials, advice, necessity, and duty — duty to 
the cause and to himself, and yet, with all this, I believe 
it will be found difficult to make him do anything. I do 
not see any likelihood of a speedy change of ministry. I 
shall go home and dine with you and talk to Matthew,* 
if poor Matthew be forthcoming. I see Lord Perry very 
often, he is surprisingly, I cannot say well, but surprisingly 
free from the consequence of years — he enters into conver- 
sation, hears, answers, observes, and reasons better than 
any man of good sense twenty years younger. Our friend 
Tegartf I have seen, and have conferred with him upon 
medicinal topics — though I do not practice here — he asked 
about you. I shall see him to-morrow, and shall mention 
to him your present regimen. 

London is become too expensive for a moderate fortune. 
The public entertainments to women, who are modest, and 

* A favourite gardener, as fond of flowers as Mr. Grattan. 
t A celebrated medical character, a great friend of the opposition 
party, and a fine Whig. 


not of the very first fortunes, inaccessible — the pit is given 
up to women of the town, I speak of the opera, and the 
boxes purchased by women of great fortune: they go to 
two or more parties of the same night, and are on the flags 
great part of it, from the difficulty of getting their carriages, 
to which they are handed frequently by a police officer. 
I pay for horses exactly double what I paid ten years ago : 
port has become claret in price, and continues brandy in 
quality. Is the church in no danger? I will buy Fox's 
speech for you, which I lost or mislaid (his speech of 1803), 
he says it is his best. 

Remember me to Mrs. Berwick .—Yours ever, 

H. G. 

Dr.. Duigenan brought a library to the House of 
Commons, which he kept behind him, and turned back so 
often to the House to consult his books, as to exhibit a 
strange appearance. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Hardy. 

London, June 14th, 1805. 
My dear Hardy, — They steal my pens, so that I write 
worse even than usual. But I write this to repeat my 
wishes that you should, as soon as possible with any con- 
venience, publish : Lord Charlemontdid not get your letter 
for a long time, it was directed to his brother, and his 
brother was not in London : if you or Berwick (and do not 
delay) can find his travels, written and digested, as to be 
in a state for publication, I think he (the son) would agree 
to their publication by you — his object is answered by 
the credit, and he would be glad you should receive the 
profit. I think you would get money from a printer for 
the Life, and the History of Italian Poetry. The history 
will prove two large volumes: would you have me talk to a 
printer about it, I will try at all events : I think you may 
make a considerable profit — but — but do not delay. The 
minister on Wednesday was beaten, # but he will stand I 
think. The papers will inform you everything with respect 
to his Majesty: he is in good health, and in conversation 
not only rational but acute. I got your letter and thank 
you much. Parliament will be up probably soon after 

* For the criminal prosecution of Lord Melville, for embezzling the 
public money and improperly applying 60,000/., 233 to 229 — majority 
against ministers, nine. 



next Thursday, which day the state of the nation is to be 
debated. I do not believe there will be any parade days. 
The most rising young men in the Commons are Mr. 
Whitbread and Lord H. Petty: I think the former is now 
a very able member of Parliament, and will be a complete 
one. . Fox is in perfect health and ability. I have dined 
much abroad and with pleasant parties — there is no excess 
except what one chooses to commit. Your friend Castle- 
reagh does not stand high. Canning has considerable 
parts — but more parts than discretion — his conclusion on 
the 12th was well. The Attorney-General is a very good 
parliamentary speaker. Mr. Grant a most grave and 
severe logician, certainly very able, but not brilliant. Of 
Pitt I need not speak as you have heard him often. — 
Yours, most trulv. 

II. G. 

The debate will come out they say to-morrow with the 
speeches revised, — I will send you one. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, June 19th, 1805. 

My dear M'Can, — I thank you for your letter. Poor 
Browne,* I believe with you, died of the Union ; it proved 
the death of another, but compared with Browne, a very 
inferior man, Lord Clare ; and I think it has extinguished 
Castlereagh, he is high in office, but in reputation lost. I 
had just read the article of his death in the paper and was 
lamenting him, he was to me an affectionate, faithful friend. 
I have had two occasions to feel concern for him, his 
political errors and his death. Bushet and Moore are 
both very proper men. I will keep for you the debate on 
the Catholic question; it will be, I suppose, perfect as far 
as relates to some of the speeches. 

I am happy at what you write about Kemmis,^ I know 
he is a most particular friend of mine, to whom I have 

• Dr. Arthur Browne, who first opposed, then supported, the Union, 
and who died broken-hearted. He wrote a pamphlet on the treaty of 
Limerick that was much noticed. 

f Charles Bushe and Arthur Moore, both created judges. 

I Crown Solicitor, a very clever individual, he managed the law 
business on the purchase of the Queen's county estates, under the vote 
of the House of Commons. 



many personal obligations. I have a great opinion of his 
good understanding. I am happy at what you relate re- 
garding the people of Ireland, it is of the last consequence 
to their credit and fortunes, to keep clear of the senseless 
practice of insurrection, they have had sufferings enough to 
instruct them on that head. The minister was defeated last 
Wednesday, but I think he will stand : at the same time 
he is very weak, and the opposition very strong. I shall 
go to Harrowgate in a week, and to Ireland in three. We 
are all well. — Yours truly, 

H. G. 

Ross M'Can, Esq. 

The following letter requires explanation. In 
the debate on the Roman Catholic question Sir 
George Hill,* a connexion of the Beresford family, 
had spoken against Mr. Fox's motion, but had 
used nothing unseemly or personal towards Mr. 
Grattan or his friends. However, he chose to 
publish a speech, and inserted what he had never 
spoken, and made statements respecting him and 
his friends that were quite unfounded, and that 
conveyed gross imputation upon both. Mr. 
Grattan found it his duty to notice these, and he 
accordingly made an application to Sir George 
Hill, expressing his surprise at what he read, and 
which had not been spoken in the House. The 
dilemma in which Sir George was placed was 
somewhat awkward, as the gross impropriety of 
the proceeding — so unusual and so unparlia- 
mentary — was undeniable. Mr. Grattan was 
therefore obliged to press him upon the subject, 
and to insist on a total disclaimer, which was 
given ; but some delay having occurred, he found 
himself obliged to have recourse to the extreme 
necessity which is always to be lamented, although 
sanctioned by usage and a sense of honour and 

* This is the same personage who figures in connexion with the 
arrest of Wolfe Tone, when the French landed in the north-west of 
Ireland. — See Memoirs of Tone, vol. ii. p. 524. 



duty. In the event of any untoward accident be- 
falling him, Mr. Grattan thought proper to write 
to his son as follows : — 

Mi?. Grattax to James Grattan. 
My dear James, — In addition to the letter which I 
have written, I am to add, that you know so well my 
political principles as devoid on the one side of corrupt 
support of Government, on the other side rebellion — and 
above all others an Irish rebellion. You have read enough 
of Irish history to know the folly and ruin of that proceed- 

I would advise you to fix certain hours for application, 
so that one day with another, you may read some hours, 
or rather study a few hours. There are and must be times 
in which you will not be able to study at all: but they 
should not be long, and should be employed in learning 
the world — rise early — it is of the greatest consequence. 

The course of studies you already know : but above all 
things attend to history, and ever make your own remarks 
as you read it — the Irish history, particularly from the 
accession of the House of Tudor — the English history, with 
a general knowledge of the history of Europe, the Roman, 
and the Greek — these are the histories you should know ; 
the books in which those histories are contained I have 
mentioned to you. I believe I am to add to the catalogue 
Robertson's histories of Charles the Fifth and of America, 
and Carte's Life of the Duke of Ormond. Keep up the 
knowledge of the classics for ever. Demosthenes, Homer, 
Tacitus, and Horace, Juvenal, &c. Read the speeches of 
the great speakers in the parliamentary debates — learn the 
public accounts, viz. the produce of the yearly taxes, the 
expenditure of each year, together with the annual amount 
of imports and exports — take care of your mother, and be 
not only kind to her in dealings, but tender in your 

Her life may be long, but it depends on care, more on 
your care than on her own. Take care of your sisters and 
Henry — you must be their father now. As to a profession 
I would, if any, recommend the bar both to you and Henry. 
Your fortune will ultimately be large, but your income for 
a long time will be small. By all means continue in College 



and take your Degree. I know you will always act like a 
man of integrity and a man of spirit. — Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 

London, June 22nd, 1805. 

Mr. Foster, on his appointment to the office of 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, conceived that he 
had acquired greater financial powers than either 
the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland (Lord Hardwicke) 
or Mr. Pitt were willing to allow. It was sup- 
posed that he had prepared some of his financial 
measures so as to give him a great share of 
patronage ; this Lord Hardwicke and the First 
Commissioner of Revenue (Lord Donoughmore) 
would not agree to. Accordingly, a breach took 
place between Mr. Pitt and Mr. Foster, and it 
reached to such a height that Mr. Foster almost 
went into opposition, and on the 2nd of July took 
his seat on the opposite side of the house from 
that of the Government to which he belonged. 
Mr. Pitt, though displeased, did not like to break 
with Foster ; he was much embarrassed, was de- 
clining in health, and was pressed by difficulties 
and desertions from within and without; so he 
compromised the matter. At first he contrived to 
postpone Mr. Foster's measures, on which Mr. 
Foster threatened to resign ; but Mr. Pitt would 
not accept the resignation, so he compelled him to 
keep his place but abandon his bills. His speech 
in ] 804 (in which year he was Chancellor of the 
Exchequer) was remarkable. He attributed the 
distress of Ireland to the Union. He stated that the 
debt in 1 793 was only 2,400,000/. ; in 1800 it had 
risen to 25,400,000/. ; and in January, 1804, it 
amounted to 43,000,000/. ; and in that year (1804) 
they had added to it no less a sum than 9,500,000/. ; 
a quota far exceeding that settled at the Union. 
He calculated that, in 1800, the net produce of the 



revenue was 2,800,000/., at the time that Ireland 
owed 25,000,000/. ; and in the last year (1803) it 
was only 2,789,000/., when she owed 53,000,000/. 
Thus there appeared an enormous and growing- 
increase of debt, a rapid falling off of the revenue, 
and a decay of commerce and of manufacture. 
So much for the boasted Union ! 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

Harrowgate, 15th July, 1805. 

My dear M'Can, — The Revenue Board will go on under 
its former master. Foster has ridden too hard, the same 
violent spirit that made him torture the rebels, has over- 
turned himself; coupled with the fury of Lord Clare, can 
you be surprised that under such ministers there was a 
rebellion? When that violence acted against the people 
they kept their places, when it acted against men in power 
they lost them. Lord Clare quarrelled with every person 
in power, and turned himself out of the world ; the other 
has quarrelled with many persons in power, and has turned 
himself out of office. Don't mention it, but he acted very 
imprudently, and his plans were jobs for himself, with some 
public advantage and more public expence and influence; 
he had nobody for him but Pitt, and Pitt gave him up 
for his convenience, as he did and must have done with 
regard to Lord Clare. I don't find any one appointed in 
his place ; he may remain, but without his plans. I fancy 
the Custom-house is not very sorry. 

They are in daily expectation of a victory over the 
French fleet, who have made a miserable figure. I think the 
minister will stand for some time even without a victory, 
the difficulty of a coalition is so great that I don't believe 
there will be one. The Opposition are very strong, and 
the Ministry verv weak; Lord Melville has hurt their 
credit, and Lord Sid mouth their numbers. Parliament is 
prorogued by commission, and the King gone to Wey- 
mouth ; he has abandoned his tour on account of his eyes, 
which are attacked by cataracts, for which it is said he is 
to undergo an operation. 

Whatever is doing on the Continent proceeds very 
slowly, those powers are more inclined to negotiate than to 
fight, and if they don't agree to the latter England will 



soon make peace. How goes on poor Ireland ? Are the 
Protestants and Catholics still at war ? Have they dis- 
covered that the spirit of loyalty is confined to the wine 
and not to be found in the wafer ? No cup — no allegiance. 
That a good wine merchant should be of that opinion, I 
am not surprised ; but that any other man should, amazes 
me. Bigotry is going down here — the activity of party 
could not excite a Protestant cry in this country. How is 
Wallace ? # has he his place in the country ? I am sure he 
is advancing in business. Ponsonby was greatly admired 
in England, and has secured the ear of the House of 
Commons — he is established there. The debate on the 
Catholic question is published — but observe some of the 
speeches never were spoken — particularly the attacksf on 
me, there was no attack whatever. — Yours most truly, 

H. Grattan. 

Mr. Fox to Mr. Grattan. 

St. Ann's Hill, 16th July, 1805. 

My dear Sir, — I ought perhaps sooner to have ac- 
quainted you, that the very day after you spoke to me, I 
saw Fitzwilliam, who confirmed what I mentioned to you, 
and said that, exclusive of the satisfaction it affords him 
to be the means of your sitting among us, it would be the 
greatest possible inconvenience to him, to have another 
vacancy at Malton at present. The manner in which Pitt 
has filled up the vacancies seems to me a decisive proof 
that he can have no serious thoughts of sincerely attempt- 
ing a union of parties, but I am told his friends give out 
that no such inference is to be drawn, on the other hand it 
must be confessed that, if he was too weak before, he has 
not gained any accession, either of strength or reputation, 
by his new arrangements. 

It is understood that he has made it up with Foster, 
who is to have his own way in every thing, whether Lord 
Hardwicke consent or not. 

Mrs. Fox desires to be remembered to you, and joins 
with me in best regards to Mrs. G. and the whole family. 
She and I much regret that we had not the opportunity of 
seeing you and them here, and not the less so (for vanity 
will have her rights and dues) because we think this 

* The Irish lawyer. 

| By Sir George Hill, published not spoken, as before mentioned. 



place looks, this year, in peculiar beauty. — I am, very 
truly, my dear Sir, yours ever, 

C.J. Fox. 

IJenry Grattan, Esq., Harrcm-gate, Yorkshire. 

The following letters contain some useful and 
interesting remarks on the study of history. This 
subject Mr. Grattan always recommended, not 
only by precept, but by practice ; he was in the 
habit of abstracting and comparing the histories 
of divers nations — modern and ancient — with 
great care and attention : this course he pursued 
to the last. The Irish, English, Greek, and 
Roman histories were read and studied by him 
with the most persevering industry ; and he re- 
gularly allotted a portion of each day for going 
over the remarks and observations he had made 
on this subject. Unfortunately, most of them 
have been lost; but what remains is of value. 

Mr. Grattan to James Grattan. 

Harrowgate, July 14th, 1805. 
My dear James, — Do not forget to read out loud every 
day some portion of Homer, and Milton, and Demosthenes, 
it would serve Henry to do the same. You will have time 
to read English, you know the books, I told you before. 
The great heads of the history of the present reign are the 
Middlesex election, the American war, the Irish revolution 
of '82, the French revolution and war. The great heads 
in the reigns preceding are, the civil war between the 
King and the Parliament, and the revolution. You should 
consult often what you have read and written on those 
subjects. Burke and Bolingbroke will give you style, and 
Junius, — the style of the latter would answer better for a 
public ear, because it is shorter, and was written for the 
public, not for the closet. — Ever yours, 

H. G. 

Mr. Grattan to James Grattan. 

Harrowgate, 28th July, 1805. 
My dear James, — The reason why we began the 
English history with the reign of Charles the First, is, 
VOL. V. T 

274 MR. grattan's letters on [chap, VIII. 

that the events which preceded that reign, govern very 
little the events which followed ; for instance, the dis- 
putes between the houses of York and Lancaster, and the 
claims of Mary to the crown of Elizabeth had exhausted 
their effects. But the religious, and still more the poli- 
tical animosities, which burst forth in Charles the First's 
reign, continue to effect the political world even to this 
day. They produced the civil war; they produced the 
cabal of Charles the Second ; they produced the violence 
of the Whigs, near and before the close of his reign ; they 
produced the still greater violence of James the Second, 
and, of course, the revolution, under whose consequences 
we live at this day. They did more, they caused a number 
of British dissenters to settle in America, who fled from 
the persecutions of Charles the First, to the free exercise 
of their civil and religious rights in another hemisphere, 
and there planted those principles, which afterwards re- 
sisted the violence of England, and established their inde- 
pendence in a century after. They did more, they caused 
the French revolution, because they communicated to the 
French, who came to assist the Americans, those impulses 
which the French afterwards indulged in to such fatal 
excess. From the beginning of that reign until the 
famous remonstrance you may pronounce Parliament 
in the right; for instance, in refusing a larger supply; 
in proceeding against the Duke of Buckingham; in form- 
ing the petition of right ; in condemning arbitrary loans ; 
arbitrary imprisonments ; courts of high commission of 
star chamber ; army without authority of Parliament ; 
ship money; the judges who allowed it; and, finally, 
in proceeding against Lord Strafford (notwithstanding 
Hume on that subject). The principles on which they 
proceeded have been recognised as the rights of the sub- 
ject, and a part of the fundamental law of the land ; those 
principles compose principally the Declaration of Right, 
passed at the revolution, which is little more than the 
petition of right, rendered somewhat more minute and 
more comprehensive, and it is called a Declaration because 
it does not introduce a new law, but only declares what 
was before the law of the land, and the right of the sub- 
ject. But there was another victory those principles 
obtained, without which their victory at the revolution had 
been in vain, namely, they proved afterwards an excellent 
practical system of government : had the people of England; 



after the revolution, like the French, ran wild, they would, 
like the French, have put down the principles of their 
revolution, and the friends of James the Second would 
have said, that the doctrine of the Whigs, however fine in 
theory, was not fit for mankind. The English, therefore, 
owe their liberties to the moderation of their ancestors at 
and after the revolution, who avoided the example of their 
predecessors at the time of the famous remonstrance. — 
Ever yours. 

H. G. 

Mr. Grattan to James Grattan. 

Ilarrowgate, 29th July, 1805. 
My dear James, — I omitted to mention the grounds on 
which Hume defends the conduct of Charles I. First, he 
justifies the acts of the king, on the precedent of his prede- 
cessors, the house of Tudor, but he forgets that those pre- 
cedents of the house of Tudor were violations of law, and 
his argument then is this, that the violations in one reign 
become in the succeeding reign laws ; his second funda- 
mental error is, that he denies the claims of the people to 
be free from taxes and arrests, except such as are war- 
ranted by parliament or legal trial, because under the 
reigns of the house of Tudor they were oppressed by 
both, but they were oppressed by both contrary to law. 
His argument then is, that infringement of right in one 
reign becomes in the succeeding a repeal of it; he makes 
innovations, laws ; and he makes laws, innovations. But 
murder is not lawful more than oppression because it has 
not always been punished, neither does a man lose his 
right to his estate or his liberty because his ancestor has 
been robbed of both ; rely on it, this principle will refute 
the greater part of Mr. Hume's defence of Charles I. The 
house of Tudor was arbitrary, and the reason was to be 
found in the weakness of the country, not the law of the 
land. The country had been exhausted by civil wars be- 
tween the houses of York and Lancaster ; further, the 
nobles had lost their strength by parting with their pro- 
perty, and the people had not grown into strength by ac- 
quisition, while the balance was trepidating, the king was 
absolute, and the laws were not so ; but in Charles I.'s 
time, the people had become rich as the nobles had 
become poor. Lord Clarendon mentions that the property 
of the House of Commons in Charles I.'s time, greatly ex- 
t 2 



ceeded that of the House of Peers, (how much I do not 
exactly recollect), then these were a people able from wealth 
and influence to claim their rights, and then the king found 
that the house of Tudor had exercised an arbitrary power, 
not because the people had no laws to protect them, but 
because the laws had not the people. You will further ob- 
serve that the house of Tudor had been arbitrary, but it 
did not attempt arbitrary power to a system like Charles 
I., it committed violations, it provoked, it receded, and it 
compromised. But the house of Stuart would be absolute 
in theory as well as in fact ; it put, to use a law phrase, 
absolute power in issue, and insisted, not merely on 
taxing and arresting the subjects, but on their legal 
right to do so. Hume says, Charles conceived him- 
self like other kings of Europe, or like his predecessors, 
and that he did not know the law. A man is indicted for 
sheep-stealing, and he answers he is no scholar, he never 
read the Parliament ; but Charles had not so strong a 
case as the sheep-stealer, for Charles had given the royal 
assent to the very laws he broke ; the petition of right, 
for instance, he gave his assent to in 1628, and the rem- 
nant of his life was a continued violation of it. Hume is 
every way unfortunate. The violation of his own laws 
was the principal cause for the famous but, I think, fatal 
remonstrance. The Parliament could not depend on him ; 
they had a proof of it in his attempt to arrest the five 
members, the house sitting after they had obtained every 
security the law could give, and ever security except that 
which Charles could not give, good faith. That was the 
cause why they thought it necessary to depose the king ; 
and you are to consider that remonstrance as no other than 
a preparatory act of doposition. There was another lead- 
ing motive, religion ; the Parliament was presbyterian, the 
king high church. In the bench of bishops the king saw 
God Almighty, — in the house, the devil. You recollect 
the treaty between the king and Parliament at Uxbridge : 
it took place when Cromwell left London ; the Parliament 
broke off on account of the mitre, their concord was their 
existence, and their time a few days, they lost them in 
their dispute about the mitre, and were all destroyed by 
Cromwell, mitre, king, and parliament. This, which hap- 
pened towards the close of the civil war, will help to show 
the motive at the beginning of it. — Ever yours, 

H. Grattan, 


Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick. 

Stradbally, September 8th, 1805. 

My dear Doctor, — I had rather be with you than 
here — but being here I cannot be with you. 

I was obliged to leave Tinnehinch on Saturday to come 
on to this place, and desert your collection and all good 
works for the Mammon of unrighteousness, namely, rent ; 
which the tenants pay like beggars, with land at a low 
rate, which does them no good. 

I shall remain here some time, being to undergo an 
inspection* next Tuesday. I shall see you, however, very 
soon. Hardy is going to fair copy his work. I have not 
seen him since your letter arrived, as I left Tinnehinch an 
hour and three quarters after. When I see you I shall 
have much to hear from you, and you from me. In the 
mean time I can only say that I am, ever yours truly, 

Henry Grattan. 

Mr. Grattan to James Grattan. 

Kilkenny, October 10th, 1805. 

Your observations are just, I perceive you have derived 
benefit from your translation of Horace and your extracts 
of history. 'T is therefore worth your while to continue 
the latter. I am sure the more you write the more you 
will think, and the more you think the more you will ex- 
ceed other men, who read more than they think (in gene- 
ral), and talk more than they read. I saw two schools at 
Kilkenny, their course is extensive ; there is one rule I 
admire, they get by heart much of Virgil, much of Homer, 
much of Horace. 

How is Dr. Leland, he sleeps a little himself, he has 
made me sleep very often, and yet he is the best Irish 
historian. Read over your extracts : the material and 
leading facts are not many, know them minutely. — Ever 

H. G. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick. 

Dublin, October 24th, 1805. 

My dear Doctor, — I cannot immediately go to you. 
We shall be happy to see you and Mrs. Berwick. 

* Of yeomanry. 


As to Swift, his picture I am glad you have gotten.* 
He was a Tory, and every thing that was said of him. 
£21 is a good deal for the works of such a man, when 
those of G. Howard, a much more loyal man, can be had 
for a few shillings-— however, I will talk to you about 
them. Our friend Hardy is doing what he has been doing 
for these many years — nothing, and he is declining in 
spirits from the force of no object and no occupation : I 
despair of him. — Yours ever, 

H. G. 

Same to Same. 

Dublin, 23rd November, 1805. 

My dear Doctor, — Three clergymen with me: one a 
dean and the other a bishop.f I cannot therefore think of 
going to an undignified divine for the present. Hereafter 
I will invade your parlour. 

I shall call on Cox : I wish I had read his works. The 
week after next I will go to Esker. I hope your health is 
good. Pitt's victory J will secure us for the present, but I 
tremble at the gloomy prospect on the continent, between 
the delay of one power, and the precipitation of another, 
Europe is brought into danger very imminent, but not 
unforetold. — Farewell, yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 

Same to Same. 

Dublin, December 19th, 1805. 

My dear Doctor, — We shall expect you immediately 
after Christmas. Take care of Vesey's§ soul, I am glad his 
body is better, and that he is so much improved by the 
approach of death. 

I hope he will now learn to have more charity for his 
brother Christians, and that he will not think to palliate 
the hardness of heart by excess of devotion. — Preston will 
meet you. — Yours, 

H. G. 

* Presented to him by Mr. (afterwards Lord) Plunket. 

f Scott, Dean of Lismore ; Beresford, Bishop of Kilmore, and both 
married to the Miss Bushes, his nieces. 

I Naval action at Trafalgar, where the French were defeated, but 
Nelson was killed. 

§ Colonel Vesey, a neighbour of Mr. Berwick's, very hostile to the 
Roman Catholics. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Plowden. 

Tinnehinch, December 28th, 1805. 

Dear Sir, — It was not very long ago since I was 
favoured with your letter, together with your manly and 
able production. I postponed my acknowledgment of the 
former till I had made myself acquainted with the latter. 
Yon are one of the very few Irish historians who have 
ventured to deal in the commodity called truth. You 
have done it like a man, with vigour and ability against the 
tide of power and prejudice ; you must look for the reward 
of merit in the censure of those whose censure is panegyric. 
As to the Union you must naturally think that you and I 
differ both as to the means used to obtain the Union, and 
the consequences to be looked for. Since the Union has 
taken place, we cannot differ. 

We must own the former to have been execrable, and 
hope the latter may be fortunate ; that is, that the Union 
may be attended with the indiscriminating adoption of all 
the king's subjects. 

How much, therefore, did I feel in reading that part of 
your letter of which 1 shall not mention one word — for 
very far from owing his crown to these ministers, it was 
they who brought it into peril — they acknowledged they 
made the rebellion explode, that is, break out — they had 
before excited the disaffection. The French and the 
United Irish would never have made the people rebel, if 
both had not been assisted by the administration. Such 
an administration in England would have made a rebellion 
there too. The greatest honour that can be done Lord 
Camden, is to say the system was extorted from him ; his 
successor, Lord Hardwicke has abated much of its fury, 
and allegiance advances as the system retires. Some of 
those who attempted to write the history of Ireland are 
men who sold themselves and their country. Their his- 
tory is their apology, not a recitation of facts. They are 
bigots and they are slaves, bought and sold. Your history 
carries on it the characteristic stamp that it was written by 
a freeman. — I beg to conclude that I am with great respect 
your very faithful humble servant, 

Henry Grattan. 

Francis Plowden, Esq. 



A great change took place at this period in pub- 
lic affairs ;* and after a lapse of 24 years, Mr. Fox 
returned to power in February, 1806. The battle 
of Austerlitz killed his rival. Worn out by 
the cares of state, the disappointments that at- 
tended his plans, and the failure of his continental 
coalitions, Mr. Pitt's -|~ strength gave way, and he 
fell a victim to his office. Mr. Fox succeeded 
him, and formed a new administration. 

* Pitt Administration, as it stood in January, 1806. 

Cabinet Ministers. 
President of the Council, Earl Camden. 
Lord High Chancellor, Lord Eldon. 
Lord Privy Seal, Earl of Westmoreland. 

First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer (Prime 

Minister), Right Hon. William Pitt. 
First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Barham. 
Master General of the Ordnance, Earl of Chatham. 
Secretary of State for the Home Department, Lord Hawkesbury. 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord Mulgrave. 
Secretary of State for the Department of War and the Colonies, and 

President of the Board of Control for the Affairs of India, Lord 

Viscount Castlereagh. 
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Lord Harrowby. 

Not of the Cabinet. 
Secretary at War, Right Hon. William Dundas. 
Treasurer of the Navy, Right Hon. George Canning. 
Joint Paymasters of his Majesty's Forces, Right Hon. George Rose, 

Right Hon. Lord Charles Somerset. 
Joint Paymasters-General, Duke of Montrose, Lord Charles Spencer. 
Secretaries of the Treasury, William Huskisson, Esq., W. Sturges 

Bourne, Esq. 
Master of the Rolls, Sir William Grant. 
Attorney-General, Hon. Spencer Perceval. 
Solicitor-General, Sir Vicary Gibbs. 

Persons in the Ministry in Ireland. 
Lord Lieutenant, Earl of Hardwicke. 
Lord High Chancellor, Lord Redesdale. 
Chief Secretary, Right Hon. Charles Long. 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Right Hon. John Foster. 
Attorney-General, Right Hon. William Conyngham Plunket. 
Solicitor-General, Charles Kendal Bushe. 

f He died on the 23rd of January, 1806, aged forty-seven, on the 
day that, twenty-five years before, he had taken his seat in Parliament. 


Fox Administration, as it stood in February, 1806. 
President of the Council, Earl Fitzwilliain. 
Lord High Chancellor, Lord Erskine. 
Lord Privy Seal, Viscount Sidmouth. 

First Lord of the Treasury (Prime Minister), Lord Grenville. 

First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Howick (late Mr. Grey). 

Master General of the Ordnance, Earl of Moira. 

Secretary of State for the Home Department, Earl Spencer. 

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Right Hon. Charles James Fox. 

Secretary of State for the Department of War and the Colonies, Right 

Hon. William Windham. 
Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, Lord Ellenborough. 
Chancellor and Under Treasurer of the Exchequer, Lord Henry Petty. 

The above formed the Cabinet. 
President of the Board of Control for the Affairs of India, Lord Minto. 
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Earl of Derby. 
President of the Board of Trade, Lord Auckland. 
Secretary at War, Right Hon. Richard Fitzpatrick. 
Treasurer of the Navy, Right Hon. Richard Brinsley Sheridan. 
Joint Paymasters-General, Earl Temple, Lord John Townshend. 
Joint Postmasters-General, Earl of Buckinghamshire, Earl of Carysfort. 
Secretaries of the Treasury, Right Hon. Nicholas Vansittart, John 

King, Esq. 
Master of the Rolls, Sir William Grant. 
Attorney-General, Sir Arthur Pigott. 
Solicitor-General, Sir Samuel Romilly. 

Persons in the Ministry in Ireland. 
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Duke of Bedford. 
Lord High Chancellor of Ireland, Right Hon. George Ponsonby. 
Chief Secretary of Ireland, Hon. William Elliot. 
Chancellor of Exchequer of Ireland, Right Hon. Sir J. Newport. 
Attorney-General of Ireland, William Conyngham Plunket. 
Solicitor-General of Ireland, Charles Kendal Bushe. 





The Duke of Bedford sent to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant. — Conduct of 
the Whig administration. — Great expectations of the Irish people. — 
Disappointed. — Mr. Fox's remarks as to the repeal of the Union. — 
Treatment of Hardy and Curran. — Mr. Tierney.— -His character.—- 
Conduct of the Catholics. — Letter of Mr. Grattan. — Refuses office. — 
Mr. Fox's letter as to the Catholics. — Letter of the Lord Lieutenant. 
— Letter of Mr. Grattan on the study of history. — To Mr. Berwick 
on Irish appointments. — To M'Can on ditto. — To Hamilton Rowan 
as to Mr. Sampson. — To M'Can as to Curran. — Fletcher and Hardy. 
— As to Mr. Fox's health. — Lord Lieutenant to Mi\ Grattan on the 
death of Fox. — Mr. Grattan to the Secretary of the Board of Educa- 
tion on that subject. — Sir John Newport on ditto. — General election. 
— Mr. Grattan declining Lord Fitzwilliam's offer to be returned for 
an English borough, sets up for Dublin. — Is elected. — His speech. — 
Letter of Mr. Keogh.— Ditto of Duke of Bedford.— Mrs. Grattan to 
Mr. Hartley, refusing the subscription to defray the expenses of elec- 
tion. — Lord Fitzwilliam to Mr. Grattan. 

Great expectations were entertained by the po- 
pular party on the accession of Mr. Fox to power, 
in 1806. He sent the Duke of Bedford to Ire- 
land, as Lord-Lieutenant, — a man of noble de- 
scent, of great family — a name consecrated in 
history, imbued with an hereditary attachment to 
liberty and to the just rights of the people — mild 
in his manners, gentle and pleasing in his disposi- 
tion, of good principles, and of high honour. 

The Irish people, however, were not now to be 
deceived by outward appearances or private pro- 
fessions. They conceived, not only that constitu- 
tional principles would be asserted, but national 
feelings would be gratified, national services re- 
warded, and the enemies of the country brought 
forth and punished; that her injuries, so long 



accumulating, would be redressed, and the in- 
sults, so deeply inflicted, would at length be 
avenged. But these hopes were vain ; the bright 
visions the people had formed quickly vanished, 
and the country was doomed to be again dis- 

Mr. Fox had spoken of the Union, not only as 
if he thought it should be repealed, but as if he 
meant to repeal it,* and as if he wished the people 
to think so ; and he certainly had in private given 
his friends cause for entertaining such an opinion. 
At first he said that he would create a board of 
Irishmen to consider what measures were best for 
Ireland : he said it was necessary, but he did not 
appoint one. He offered the place of Commander 
of the Forces to an Irishman; — Lord Hutchinson 
refused, but he persuaded him to accept it, and 
then he permitted it to be given to another. 

Unquestionably, if the Protestants were not to be 
gratified by the restoration of their Parliament, 
and the Catholics were not to be gratified by the 

* On the 3rd of February, Lord Castlereagh proposed that a monu- 
ment should be erected to the memory of Lord Cornwallis, who had 
died in India in 1805, and he alluded in his speech to the services he 
had rendered in effecting the Union between Great Britain and Ireland. 
Mr. O'Hara, an Irish member, said that he could not vote personal 
honours to the memory of a man who had taken so principal a part in 
that transaction, which he looked on as mischievous and fatal to the 
interests of Ireland. Mr. Fox said, he voted for it with some satisfac- 
tion, as the words excellent statesman were not in the motion ; he voted 
for it notwithstanding what had been said on the act of Union, for con- 
sidering that act with all the circumstances attending it, he thought it to 
be one of the most disgraceful that ever happened in that country. In 
consequence of these remarks, Mr. Harry Alexander, a follower of Lord 
Castlereagh, and a ready unscrupulous actor in that corrupt and flagi- 
tious proceeding, asked Mr. Fox, some days after, to explain himself 
more fully on the subject, as his words might have been misunderstood 
and might be taken to mean an intention to repeal that act; on which 
Mr. Fox observed, that he adhered to all he had said, but had not 
spoken prospectively — that there were many measures which were origi- 
nally bad, yet could not be remedied by the repeal of them, and that, 
however bad the measures had been, an attempt to repeal it without the 
most urgent solicitation from the parties interested should not be made, 
and hitherto none such had come within his knowledge. 


restoration of their privileges, they might at least 
have expected that their disappointment would 
have been lessened by beholding the marked dis- 
grace of their enemies ; and they might have felt 
some consolation in finding their future appre- 
hensions removed by cleansing the bench of 
magistrates, and dismissing from office and power 
those who had persecuted the people. 

But it seemed that the Union was not to be 
repealed, that the Catholics were not to be eman- 
cipated, and that the friends of the Irish people 
were not to be rewarded. Worse than that, the 
old enemies of the country were to be left in the 
enjoyment of honour, office, and emolument. 
This was a fatal precedent to set ; and any 
Government that left such an example behind, 
could never upbraid the country afterwards with 
popular ingratitude. It was certain to be imi- 
tated, and could not escape the keen observation 
of the Prince Regent, who practised it in 1812, — 
fatally for his friends— more fatally for his repu- 

The charges brought against the Whig ad- 
ministration were numerous ; and, unfortunately, 
some of them were well founded. It was stated, 
and with reason, that they should not have tolerated 
such men as Duigenan, Musgrave, Sirr, Swan, 
Fitzgerald ; * but have made a public example of 
such bad characters, have openly punished them, 
and avenged the excesses of the insurrection ; 
that they should not have suffered such per- 
sons as Mr. Mayne to be appointed judge, Mr. 
Grierson to hold office ; and leave the secretary of 
their Whig club unrewarded, and Hardy and 
Curran remain so long unprovided for ; that Ber- 
wick, a humane, independent, and exemplary 

* Giffard had been removed by Lord Hardwicke, but on the return 
of the Tories was restored with full salary from the time of his removal. 



clergyman (ill-treated by Lord Corhampton on 
account of his kindness and attention to the 
tortured Irish in 1798*), should want a bishopric, 
while Warburton, a favourite and without claims, 
should get one. 

It was said that they had not rewarded the 
friends of the Irish party — the men who had 
sacrificed so much at the Union, so much on the 
Catholic question — who remained unseduced by 
the bribes of Castlereagh, and unawed by the 
threats of Clare — in fact, who had resisted every 
temptation, and whom they should have made it 
a point of honour at every hazard to advance. 
That such men as Mr. Dundas and Taylor were 
made Commissioners, while Hardy, and Fletcher, )' 
and Preston were delayed, postponed, or over- 
looked. It was said that Hardy was not suf- 
ficiently active ; but the appointment of the 
others showed that the business did not require 
any great attention, or any extraordinary talent. 
It was said that objections were made to Curran ; 
but Curran was promised the office of Attorney- 
General, and it was afterwards alleged that his 
character was the impediment ; yet it was good 
enough to permit him to be a judge, the second 
place offered to him. All this was done without 
communicating with any one on the subject. Thus, 
the party committed two faults,— breach of promise 
to Curran, and misconduct to the public, in mak- 
ing a judge a person whose reputation they alleged 
to be too bad to allow him to be Attorney-General; 
though, in truth, this talk about Curran (for it 
deserves no other name) was a calumny of the 
Tories, because of his patriotism and firmness in 

* See ante, vol. iv. p. 332, for Lord Corhampton's conduct towards 

t Fletcher was one of the few judges who had an idea of liberty. 
Mr. Grattan used to say of him, " I like his growl better than other 
men's good humour," 



1798, and was used by the Whigs for political 

In addition to this the country was encumbered 
with a debt, as the Master of the Rolls, who 
made way for Curran, was allowed a retiring 
salary. They also divided the Boards of Custom 
and Excise; and instead of consolidating small 
offices, they augmented them. So far from re- 
garding their friends, when a place was vacant at 
the Board of Customs, it was given away from 
Hardy. Again, when another place fell vacant— 
a place of 500/. a year, which was wealth to a 
person circumstanced as poor Hardy was — they 
wanted also to give this away, and it was with 
difficulty procured for Hardy, through the exer- 
tions of Lady Granard. They wanted to make 
Mr. Tierney, an Englishman, Chancellor of the 
Irish Exchequer : but this was stopped by Mr. 
Grattan. They then made Lord Grenville, an 
Englishman also (the proposer of the Union in the 
House of Lords), First Lord of the Irish Treasury, 
in place of an Irishman to whom that honour was 
due. The Irish Parliament, in order to have 
some power over the dispensation of the public 
money, had created this treasury at the expense 
of 6,000/. a year, and had placed at its head an 
Irishman ; and now the Whig administration, in 
order forsooth to render Ireland more independent, 
put at its head an absentee and an Englishman ; thus 
binding the Union even faster than Pitt had done. 

It must be said that these were not very great 
things, nor matters of much consequence ; yet 
they sufficed to prove the disposition of the Go- 
vernment and tried the affection of the British 
party for their Irish friends and former supporters. 
Following, too, so close upon the Union, they 
were a proof of the indifference of one party and 
the inferiority of the other, and served to show 



that Ireland had, as a nation, become a blank, 
and had sunk, not only in name, but in reality. 

The Whig Government were quite mistaken in 
the line of policy they adopted. Their plan was 
oblivion, and Mr. Fox wished to forgive. It was 
a sentiment congenial to his nature, and in his 
own case he would have acted on it and suc- 
ceeded ; but in that of others, and of a country 
that till late had been a nation, it was quite dif- 
ferent : a nation rarely forgets. Besides, as a 
leader he was wrong ; for if a party seeks to 
govern popularly, they must enter into the feel- 
ings of the people, — they must consult men's 
passions, and give them a triumph. The cold 
system never succeeds : there may be many good 
arguments for it, but the people will not under- 
stand them. They behold in power the men who 
abused, the men who flogged, and the men who 
tortured ; and certainly that person is a very 
shallow politician, if not a very wicked one, who 
on such occasions leaves both impunity and their 
spoils to incorrigible offenders. In this respect 
the Whigs were fatally in the wrong; they seemed 
impressed with the romantic idea that they could 
make vicious enemies virtuous friends ; and that 
Major Sirr and Major Swan could walk about the 
Castle, and feed on the wages of their crimes, 
while their noblest supporters starved upon hun- 
ger and their conscience. 

It is true that Lord Grenville was Prime Mi- 
nister, and Ireland was not in Mr. Fox's depart- 
ment, he was Secretary for Foreign affairs, but yet 
he did not attend to her as he might, and as she ex- 
pected, and he took office as Pitt had done with- 
out stipulating for the Catholic question. This, 
however, Pitt had made a difficulty almost insu- 
perable. Mr. Grattan found him on these sub- 
jects quite insensible — he had no meeting about 


Ireland — he held no Cabinet Council about her — 
he did not consult Lord Hutchinson, though he 
respected him much — he never consulted Mr. 
Grattan, though he personally liked him (yet on 
one occasion he yielded when Mr. Grattan re- 
monstrated with him on the subject of the Chan- 
cellorship of the Exchequer* for Ireland). He 
conferred with George Ponsonby merely on the 
arrangement about places, which Ponsonby liked, 
but he did not ask who were to be provided for, 
Mr. Grattan spoke to him about Curran and 
Hardy, and mentioned that he understood that the 
latter was to be one of the Commissioners of the 
Revenue. Fox merely replied, that he was glad 
of it ; in fact, on the subject of Ireland, Fox was 
cold and mistaken. Yet this did not arise from 
want of regard for Ireland, or want of principle, or 
want of heart — the good feeling was there — he 
loved Mr. Grattan, he respected Lord Hutchinson 
— but the difficulty was almost insuperable — it 
was the Union — it was the weight of business 
overwhelmed him, and the addition of Ireland, 
that rendered the office too laborious and the 
load too heavy for any minister to bear ; be- 
sides this, a fatal destiny hung over a people 
who had suffered themselves to be divided and to 
be sold, and the workings of the Union began to 

* Mr. Grattan conceived it to be his duty, however painful, to oppose 
the appointment of Mr. Tierney to the office of Chancellor to the Irish 
Exchequer. He was an able Englishman, and a strong and excellent 
speaker ; his style was that of conversation, but there was not a single 
sentence thrown away, — he was always sure of his aim, and certain to 
hit severely, singularly, and unexpectedly. He was a man of spirit and 
of dignity ; his reply to Sir Francis Burdett, who had charged him with 
" having his pockets stuffed with public plunder," was inimitable, unan- 
swered, and unanswerable. Tierney was a man who seemed not to 
know what folly was, — nothing could get him to talk nonsense, except 
time — that alone could beat him. In private he was most agreeable ; he 
had a wit and archness in what he said, that pleased and never offended. 
It might be supposed that he possessed great judgment; it was quite 
the reverse, — he had no discretion ; and though a man of spirit, was not 
ji man of bold counsel. 


make themselves visible in the gradual debasement 
of the country that nature had made too large to 
be governed as a province. The position, also, of 
Mr. Fox, and his declining health, depressed him ; 
the hand of death was upon him, and another 
more chilling and more deadly still, — a king 
sworn against his people. 

Unfortunately the Whigs disclosed one of the 
great arcana imperii — that they did not object to 
increase of expense, and did not dislike influence 
more than the Tories. Still it must be admitted 
that, although they deserved blame for their con- 
duct as to Ireland, they did many excellent acts, — 
the abolition of the slave trade, the training bill 
(a great constitutional measure), the limited ser- 
vice bill, the attempt (almost success) at making 
peace with France, the friendly disposition towards 
the Catholics, the immediate removal of Lord 
Chancellor Redesdale,* the restoring Mr. Fox and 
Mr. Grattan to the Privy Council, the allowing 
the act for the suspension of the habeas corpus bill 
to expire, by which a number of persons impri- 
soned for years under the despotic and inquisitorial 
system of their predecessors, were thereby libe- 
rated, and restored to health and freedom. 

Certainly they did not increase the affections 
of the Catholics towards England, who now 
began to view the party with distrust and sus- 
picion ; and although the inclination of the Whigs 
was known to be favourable, yet the Catholics 
began to look on their friends almost as enemies, 
strove to force their claims upon Parliament, and 

* He was dismissed on the 4th of March — it affected him even to tears ; 
he concluded his farewell address to the bar, by complaining of those 
who had concurred in his dismissal; "This," said he, " was what I did 
not expect, and what I was not prepared to bear;" he then added, ** to 
this country I have the highest sense of obligation, I do not know that 
in a single instance I have experienced anything but kindness !" In 
what a noble and generous light does not the nation appear that from its 
opponent receives such praise ! 

VOL. V. U 


drive them to an extremity, and at their meetings 
held out the language of threats and defiance. 
But this was not peculiar to the Catholics ; it 
arose from the restless and dissatisfied nature of 
man ; and in justice to that much-abused and ill- 
treated body, it must be said that ultimately they 
listened to the advice of Mr. Fox, and did not 
embarrass the Government by petitioning. 

It is to be observed, also, that the Whigs were 
too short a time in power to judge of them, and 
they did not get a fair trial ; rather they had no 
trial at all, and in truth they had very little 
power, — the King was against them, the people of 
England were not for them, the Catholics em- 
barrassed them, Ireland was a drag, not an 
assistance, and unfortunately the party subse- 
quently decided the King still more against them, 
for they pressed him on a minor point, — a little 
question that would not have gratified the people, 
and was great enough to displease the King. 

But to return to the correspondence : when the 
following letter was written my brother and I 
were in the Queen's County. My father had ap- 
pointed me first lieutenant in his corps of yeo- 
manry, and my occupation was to drill the men 
four times a week, with the assistance of a ser- 
geant of the line. In a short time they grew very 
expert, and could go through most of Dundas's 
manoeuvres (the military book then in use), were 
remarkably good shots, and proved a most efficient 
body, — liked by the people and on terms of 
friendship (as before stated) with the Orangemen. 

The joy in Ireland on the accession of the 
Whigs to power was very great, particularly 
among the Catholics. The idea that Mr. Grattan 
was to form one of the administration diffused 
satisfaction and confidence : some rejoiced from 
private reasons, many from public ; for the people, 
who cannot see the interior of Government, form 


their opinions from outward appearances. About 
four o'clock one morning we were awoke by an 
express from Dublin, informing us that Mr. Grat- 
tan had been appointed Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer. We thanked the individual who had 
volunteered to bring the news, but we disbelieved 
his story, and turned on our side to sleep. 

We knew that Mr. G rattan would not accept 
office, and that his feelings in 1806 were just as in 
1782 and 1795; as he then expressed them, — 
" to be consulted, not considered '." He was restored 
to the Privy Council, and he could there advise ; 
but his refusal of office was much canvassed, and 
many deemed him to have acted wrong. Certainly 
he would not have made a first-rate Chancellor of 
the Exchequer; he was not the best man of busi- 
ness, and disliked accounts and detail. At the 
same time most of the business is done by the un- 
derlings, — those long in office, trained to its ways, 
and versed in its habits ; and of late years has 
been so much simplified, that men of a very in- 
ferior mental grade have held the situation. But 
Mr. Grattan's great objection was to feel himself 
indebted to any party, or to be placed under the 
slightest obligation to any minister, which the 
acceptance of office is too often considered to im- 
ply ; besides, he saw that the Whigs had but a 
slight tenure of office, that their lease of it would 
be broken by their royal landlord on the first pre- 
tence, or on any alleged breach of covenant ; in 
short, he knew that the King could not be trusted. 
The difficulty, too, of uniting Irish and English 
politics was considerable. He would have had 
to teach the British Cabinet every point, and in- 
struct them on each particular subject of Irish 
affairs, which they were seldom much disposed to 
pay attention to, and never inclined to study and 
to master. If the office of Chief Secretary had 
u 2 


been pressed upon him, the case would have been 
somewhat, but not very different ; he could strike 
out a comprehensive plan and enforce a broad 
national principle of imperial benefit, and carry it 
into effect with high determination ; but that was 
precisely what a British Government would not 
have allowed, their object being ever to keep in 
British hands the reins of Irish government. So 
strongly was this sentiment prevailing, that on one 
occasion even Charles Fox was said to have ob- 
served to Lord Fitzwilliam, that "Grattan was too 
Irish for the English Parliament. 1 ' The mere 
circumstance of being in office would not, in all 
probability, have added much weight to his prin- 
ciples or his advice. We may see from these 
letters how little they were listened to as far as 
public appointments for Irish services were con- 
cerned ; and the temporizing policy has of late 
years been fully exemplified in the practice of 
neutralizing every government that leaned towards 
the people. If a friendly Lord-Lieutenant were 
appointed, he was overruled or thwarted by a 
Secretary of a different or hostile disposition, and 
so vice versa. This system, so prevalent even 
latterly, serves to prove what a difficulty must have 
existed in 1806, when the anti-Irish and the High 
Church party still held sway. On the whole, 
Mr. Grattan acted with wisdom, and it cannot be 
said that he deserted his party or the country, for 
he was at all times ready and willing to assist and 
to advise ; but the practice and policy of the 
British minister has never been to take counsel 
from an Irishman. 

Mr. Grattan to James Grattan. 

6, Bentinck Street, Manchester Square, Feb. 16, 1806. 

Dear James, — Your mother wrote to you on the re- 
ceipt of your letter to me, otherwise I should have written 



You see every thing is settled regarding the new minis- 
try — they are sworn and gazetted. The Irish Lord Lieu- 
tenant, his Secretary, and Chancellor, and Keeper are all 
fixed. I refused office, 1 do not know whether you think 
I was right. We hear that there are disturbances in the 
County of Mayo. What is the fact? — let me know. Give 
me an account of your Queen's County expedition. Were 
you at Tyrawly's? — How is he? It is now nine o'clock, 
and as black as Erebus : I can hardly see the paper. No 
foreign news of any consequence ; indeed, the news was so 
bad it was impossible any thing further more extraordinary 
or calamitous could happen. 

I have resumed this letter, after many interruptions, so 
that it wants the merit of continuity. Let me know what 
you and Henry are now reading. I observe that the 
English have most of the brilliant passages in English 
and Latin poetry, Virgil and Juvenal, &c. &c, by heart — 
they should add Homer, it gives a great spirit to conver- 
sation. I wish you would keep in your memory what you 
have already gotten by heart. It is a foolish thing to lose 
what you have already spent so much time to acquire. 

Mr. Fox is well — I hope he may be long so. He is a 
fair, direct, honest man : he still loves to talk of poetry 
and repeat verses, which he remembers well. Pitt's death 
was, what you say, a great surprise : and his life, like his 
death, very different from his father's. The affairs on the 
continent were as ill planned as they were ill executed — 
they had no chance of success from the first — this appears 
from the papers now laid before Parliament. — Yours affec- 
tionately, H. G. 

The subjoined letter is the best document from 
Mr. Fox that is to be met with in the transactions 
of this period. It shows, as has been already- 
stated, that the intentions of Mr. Fox were good ; 
but they were to be carried into effect by others ; 
and Lord Sidmouth and Lord Ellenborough * in 
the British Cabinet, and the Orange party in 
official situations in Ireland, were bad instruments 

* Lord Sidmouth was Privy Seal, a violent opponent of the Catho- 
lics, and quite in the good graces of the King ; Lord Grenville was Lord 
of both Treasuries; Lord Ellenborough was Chief Justice, with a scat 
in the Cabinet ; all of them strong in favour of the Union. 



wherewith to accomplish his just and charitable 
wishes ; and, in fact, none of the measures he 
writes about were carried into effect. The account 
of these matters was as follows : — Mr. James 
Ryan, a respectable Roman Catholic merchant, 
but a young man of inconsiderable standing in 
politics, yet not without public spirit, had assem- 
bled several meetings at his private house on the 
subject of Catholic affairs. He thought fit to 
write to Mr. Fox on those matters, as well as on 
some affairs relating to himself. Mr. Fox replied 
in the kindest manner ; and when his letter was 
produced at a public meeting of Roman Catholics, 
a warm debate and much difference of opinion 
arose ; private and unseemly altercations broke 
forth, the policy of pressing the Catholic question 
was discussed at great length and with much 
vehemence, and in the end the committee decided 
that Mr. Fox's suggestion should be acceded to, 
and that it would be inexpedient to urge upon the 
Government the consideration of the Catholic 
claims. A general meeting was subsequently 
held at the Repository in Stephen's Green, in 
which a resolution condemning the practice of 
holding meetings on the subject of Catholic affairs 
in the houses of private individuals was carried, 
after a long and stormy discussion. This being 
effected, and the public cause being so far secured, 
an adjournment took place, and the Whigs were 
relieved from the embarrassment in which the 
affairs of Ireland threatened to involve them. 

Such was the condition to which she was re- 
duced under trie British Government ; but if she 
had preserved her own free institutions uninflu- 
enced and uncorrupted, and had guarded herself 
against foreign and domestic traitors, her Catholic 
question would have been carried in an hour, and 
her people would have enjoyed peace. 


Mr. Fox to Mr. Ryan. 

Downing Street, February 18tb, 180G. 
Dear Sir, — I owe you many apologies for not having 
sooner written, as I promised you to do, in a short letter 
from St. Anne's Hill, or answered your last. With re- 
gard to your last, I have given it to Lord Henry Petty, 
who has promised to attend to it, and who will, no doubt, 
(unless unforeseen difficulties should arise) be happy to 
comply with your wishes.* With respect to the question 
you put to me about the presentation of a Catholic peti- 
tion this year, I have consulted with our friends, who all 
agree in thinking that, for the interest of the cause, such a 
measure ought to be deferred to another session. Measures 
are actually taken, by the removal of Lord Redesdale, 
Mr. Foster, and others, to show the good intentions of the 
ministry towards your body. Steps still more important 
will be taken to manifest our disposition, by doing for the 
Catholics all that is consistent with bad laws, by giving 
them in substance what they have only in words, a right 
to be in the army, to be corporators, &c. Sec, by a change 
of justices of ' the peace, whose conduct has been notoriously 
oppressive, I hope too by some arrangement about tithes, 
and, in fine, by giving you all the share in the Government 
of your country that we can give. The effect of these 
measures will be partly to make the Catholics of the lower 
orders more satisfied, partly to enable them to come with 
additional strength and weight when they again assert 
their claims. I therefore strongly recommend suspending 
the petition for a time. If, however, it should notwith- 
standing our wishes be presented, I shall support it with 
all my power, but the division of last year, and the opinions 
which have been industriously propagated in this country, 
make me despair of success, unless we could have active 
assistance from a quarter in which to look for passive ac- 
quiescence/}- is perhaps more than we can reasonably ex- 
pect. If we are beat, which we certainly shall be, and if 
the fall of our ministry should follow, which may be the 
case, you run the risk of a ministry being formed on the 
avowed principle of defeating your claims, and thus you 
would put all hope further off than ever. — I am, with great 
regard, dear Sir, yours ever, 

Charles James Fox. 

* He had applied for a place. 

f The King. 



The two following* letters show the little influ- 
ence Mr. Grattan had with Government. The 
applications on behalf of Hardy and M'Can were 
on public grounds ; he never at any time asked 
of Government a personal favour. Strange to 
say, he failed in both these cases ; one individual 
was never provided for, and the other, as his 
letters show, was .sadly disappointed, and at last, 
at the end of a year, by chance succeeded, not 
through the influence of Mr. Grattan, but of a lady 
of the house of Granard. Such was the value set 
upon Irish services, Irish virtue, Irish privations, 
and Mr. Grattan's disinterested recommendations. 
Coldness and indifference of this sort sunk the 
Whig party in Ireland for ever. 

The remarks of the Duke of Bedford as to the 
Catholics refer to their various meetings and dis- 
cordant debates; but subsequently their conduct 
met with his approbation, and towards the close 
of his government, a highly complimentary reso- 
lution was passed by that body in favour of his 

Let these documents, and others of a similar 
nature in the collection, be a lesson to all men in 
after ages, and teach them to serve their country 
with true Spartan spirit, — devoid of all selfish 
considerations, seeking no object but her good, 
and asking no reward but her approbation. Pos- 
terity is sure to award the palm where it is justly 
due ; for see, in every free country the memory of 
Hardy and of Curran is admired and respected, 
while that of Clare and Castlereagh is abhorred 
and execrated. 

The Lord Lieutenant to Mr. Grattan. 
Private. Dublin Castle, February 19th, 1806. 

My dear Sir, — Since I had the pleasure of seeing you, 
I have anxiously occupied my mind on a provision for 


Mr. M'Can, in some department where his talents may be 
usefully employed in the service of Government, but 1 am 
sorry to add, that my inquiries have hitherto proved un- 
satisfactory ; every situation connected with the press is in 
the hands of persons whom it would be difficult to remove. 
And, indeed, these offices are, generally speaking, so in- 
ferior in point of value, as to be inadequate to Mr. M'Can's 
fair expectations, should he give up the office he now holds 
in the revenue. If, however, you can point out to me any 
mode in which the object you have in view may reasonably 
be accomplished, I shall most cheerfully avail myself of 
any suggestions you may offer. 

I fear the determination of the Catholic body will lead 
to great embarrassment, and produce in this country a 
ferment and irritation, which it will be difficult to allay. 
I think they are pursuing a line of conduct injurious to 
their own interests, and I very deeply regret it. — Ever, my 
dear Sir, with the truest regard, your very faithful and 
obedient servant, 


Mr. Grattan to Mr. Hardy. 

London, February 20th, 1806. 
Letters should begin at the bottom, with a postscript, in 
which the subject is contained. — 


My dear Hardy, — Your name was mentioned by me, 
and I must tell you the truth. — 


You are now in a great' perspiration — turn over. — 


Your claim was acknowledged una voce by your Irish 
friends — my wishes anticipated. Moira had mentioned 
you to Mr. Fox. I think your quantum is very reasonable, 
and I make no doubt it will be settled to your satisfaction. 
— Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 

I suppose many will be discontented, for it is impossible 
to do what one would wish for all — it cannot be helped. 
There is nothing new, at least nothing except what you 
read in the paper. I cannot tell you much. I must not 



tell secrets, and must affect mystery, and, of course, must 
be short and unsatisfactory. But with regard to yourself 
I hope not so. 

This letter was written in a droll way, on four 
large sheets of paper, to tantalize Hardy ; but this 
innocent suspense was of little moment and short 
duration, compared to what he was doomed to 
suffer ; and that public-spirited man who had 
spurned in the midst of poverty all Lord Castle- 
reagh's splendid offers, was left unaided for up- 
wards of a year, and was, on the accidental death 
of Mr. Preston, named one of the commissioners 
of appeal — an onerous place for Hardy, of only 
500/. a year — just before the Whigs left office. 

By way of preface to Mr. Grattan's remarks on 
the study of history, it may be observed that he 
preferred domestic to public education, and was 
averse to sending his children to public schools ; 
their dissipation, their vice, and their extrava- 
gance, deterred him ; perhaps, too, he thought 
that an education in another country somewhat 
tended to alienate young persons from Ireland, 
and to estrange their habits, their tastes, and their 
dispositions, from their native land. There were 
only two schools of much repute at this period in 
Ireland, — Dr. Pack's at Kilkenny, and Mr. Car- 
penter's at Armagh ; ,but in general neither the 
Irish nobility nor the Irish gentry sent their sons 
there. A preposterous and provincial idea was 
long prevalent in Ireland, namely, that young 
persons could form acquaintances at English 
schools and colleges who would assist them in 
after life ; and as England was the seat of power, 
parents looked for the promotion of their children 
to British aid instead of Irish ability. 

Hence proceeded that servile and grovelling 
sentiment, and that anti-national feeling that unfor- 
tunately has so much characterised the upper classes 



of the people of Ireland. Most of them in past 
times were adventurers or the descendants of 
adventurers, they lacked the vigorous quality that 
would have enabled them to take a firm root and 
spread and flourish in the new soil, and they suf- 
fered themselves in action, and thought, and 
word, and utterance, to be drawn back insensibly 
perhaps, but ignobly, towards the mother country. 
They possessed some of Swift's feelings without 
his spirit ; like him they objected to rest u in the 
haul of slaves,'' but unlike him they did not seek 
1 to make their countrymen free ; they pretended 
that more liberal principles and a more liberal 
education was to be procured in England, forget- 
ting that of this evil they were themselves the 
authors ; that the error lay with them, and that 
they should have eradicated from their minds as 
well as their acts the causes that had occasioned 
this reproach and calamity ; namely, their domes- 
tic differences and divisions, their civil, religious, 
and political debasement, their want of national 
port, and spirit, and sentiment, and, above all, 
that absence of dignity and self-respect, which 
made them meanly fly for further and continual 
instruction to the very people who had uniformly 
propagated every anti-Irish feeling and encouraged 
every anti-national tendency. 

In his family Mr. Grattan took much pains to 
procure the best preceptors, but he did not wholly 
trust to their exertions ; he shared them in person, 
and particularly in the branches of Latin, Greek, 
and English classics ; and let it not be imagined 
that the moral and religious part of a parent's 
duty was not carefully attended to. Numerous 
and invidious attacks were made upon him, with 
regard to his religious principles and sentiments, 
as they had been to his political ones, and this 
too even in latter days : both were w T holly devoid 



of truth, and, as by this time, the reader must be 
satisfied that the latter have been refuted, here 
we have the refutation of the former, for it may 
with perfect truth be said, that under the roof of 
Tinnehinch, morality and religion were inculcated 
and exercised with undissembled sincerity, and 
without affectation or fanaticism. On these 
points, Mr. Grattan's instructions were profound 
and remarkable : given with such steady serious- 
ness, such agreeable composure, deep, solemn, 
and, at the same time so natural, so devoid of 
harshness and puritanism, that the impression they - 
left could never be effaced. On one occasion his 
discourse thus ended — " never scoff at or speak 
lightly of religion, never associate with those who 
do, and should such an occurrence happen in your 
presence, and that you cannot answer, leave the 
company immediately." Much more might be 
said on this subject, but the charges that have 
been revived, even since the appearance of the 
first of these volumes, carry with them, in their 
extravagance, their own refutation. The private 
history and the cause of these attacks are well 
known to the author, but it is not necessary for the 
reader to be troubled with any further refutation.* 

Mb. Grattan to Henry Grattan, Jun. 

London, 20th February, 1806. 

My dear Henry, — # # # The best rules for study are, 
I think, the following — rise early, and give five or six 
hours to study every day, days of sporting excepted ; make 
yourself master of the Roman, Greek, English, and Irish 

* The allusion here is to the Dublin Review for September, 1843, 
where a very malignant and groundless attack is founded on an early 
letter of Mr. Grattan's to Mr. Broome (an eccentric character) ; it was 
written in order to draw from him an extravagant defence of a fictitious 
argument, a line of disputation adopted for amusement and literary 
pastime; but it is absurdly taken as representing his fixed opinion. 

Hardy, who saw the interior of Tinnehinch, used to say, " How can 
people imagine Mr. Grattan is not sufficiently religious ! If my poor 
knees could speak, they would tell how long he has kept me on them !" 


history. The books are principally Hook, Vertot, Mitford, 
Stanian, Hume, Parliamentary history, Leland, Carte, 
Polybius, Plutarch, Herodotus, Livy, and Tacitus. The 
histories are to be divided into heads, and are to be read, 
not regularly, for that would be intolerable, but to points. 
For instance, in the Roman history, the Constitution — 
first Kingly, then Consular, then the progress of the popu- 
lar power, from Consuls to Tribunes, to the right of trying 
the nobility, to the right of sharing in the consular, &c. ; 
then to the dissolution of the Constitution, under the 
Gracchi and about their death, by its excesses under 
Pompey and Caesar, by its special commissions, as well as 
by the general consequences of too much power, and too 
much wealth. You will also advert to the progress of 
Empire, from the disputes with Alba to the second Punic 
war, which ascertained Italy, and gave Africa : from that 
conquest to the Macedonian war, which gave Greece : 
from that domination to the Asiatic war, and that with 
Antiochus, which gave Syria, and advanced the Empire to 
Mount Taurus : then to the second Macedonian war, which 
provincialized Macedon, and to the corollary of that war, 
the Achsen war, which enslaved the Greeks : then to the 
fate of the King of Pontus, and the farthest stretch of the 
Roman Empire eastward. Then the progress of the Em- 
pire in the west : the Gallic war, you need not trouble 
yourself about the different battles, but you must know 
the decisive actions in those wars, the causes, or rather 
the pretences for these wars, and the extent of the Em- 
pire resulting from each. You have the plan already, 
similar to the contractions of the Irish civil wars, and 
the English history under Charles the First, you have only 
to fill it up with the productive facts in history, without 
loading your memory with trifling transactions. Trifling 
transactions I call all the battles and wars of the Romans 
till the second Punic war, the sacking of Rome by the 
Gauls, and the siege of Veii excepted, even the transac- 
tions in the great wars, several of them are to read but not 
dwelt on. Much of the progress of Quintius, in the first 
Macedonian war, which is finely told by Livy, is uninte- 
resting, so of the Mithridatic, so of the Asiatic wars ; but 
the decisive battles, the extent of dominion in consequence, 
the pretences, and any brilliant episode. I will conclude 
this letter in a day or two on another sheet. 

H. G. 



Mr. Grattan to Henry Grattan, Jun. 

22nd February, 1806. 
My dear Henry, — With regard to the subject of the 
other letter, did I omit to mention that for style, you 
should study Bolingbroke's Political "Works, Junius, and 
Burke, with the Parliamentary remonstrances in the Par- 
liamentary history in Charles the First's time. The great 
study is history, and the most essential study, the history 
of your own times, and the most events are- — the French 
war, its causes, errors, and consequences, in which you 
must peruse Belsham, and the Parliamentary Debates, and 
the Annual Register of '92, and so on. The next great 
event is the American war, its causes, errors, and conse- 
quences, for which you are to study the same Tracts, Par- 
liamentary Debates, and the Registers of '75, '77, and so 
on to '83. The next greatest question is the Irish Revo- 
lution of 1782, and the Irish Union of 1800— the Tracts 
are not to be found, you must collect them from oral testi- 

Another great question, the Middlesex election, the 
tracts are the Parliamentary Debates of '69 and 70. Most 
of these events you know already, you have only to regis- 
ter, digest, and write them in a clear full hand. 

The material events of the two anteceding reigns, 
George the First and George the Second, are the seven 
years' war, the treaties of Seville, Hanover, and Vienna, 
(James will tell you what they are), and the accession of 
the Hanover Family. 

You will find in the Parliamentary Debates, and in the 
Annual Register, these subjects. Observe in the Parlia- 
mentary Debates of that time, that there are but five great 
questions, and four great speakers (debaters), for they are 
no more, viz. — The continuation of a standing army, the 
septennial bill, the excise, and the Spanish convention; 
and the debaters are — Sir Robert Walpole, Sir William 
Wyndham, Sir John Barnard, and Mr. Pulteney. James 
will tell you how to read those debates, and you will go 
through them with great expedition, most of the subjects 
being now (and most of the arguments being) either con- 
firmed or refuted by the experiment. — Ever yours, 

Mr. Wallace, who forms the subject of the 


Secretary's letter, was considered by Mr. Grattan 
as deserving of consideration upon public grounds. 
He had taken a zealous, a ready, and a useful 
part at the period of the Union, and as before 
observed, had written, and with effect, against the 
measure ; this too atthe time that he be held others 
highly rewarded for supporting it. Independent 
of this strong recommendation, Mr. Wallace was 
then liberal in his politics, and friendly to the 
Roman Catholics and to their claims. He was 
not only an able and distinguished lawyer, but a 
person of considerable taste in literature. At his 
house many clever individuals used to meet, and 
were received with great hospitality and friend- 
ship. Mr. Grattan was often one of the number, 
and always retained a grateful recollection of the 
agreeable hours spent in that society. 

The Lord Lieutenant to Mr. Grattan. 

Dublin Castle, March 14th, 1306. 
Dear Sir, — Mr. Elliot has informed me of your anxious 
desire that Mr. Wallace should be included in the promo- 
tion to the rank of King's Councillor, and, immediately 
on being apprised of your wishes, I communicated with the 
Chancellor on the subject, who informs me, that from Mr. 
Wallace's standing at the bar, he cannot take upon him- 
self to recommend him for promotion, without giving great 
offence to others, who have, as he conceives, higher preten- 
sions, and that he has written to you fully upon it. The 
Chancellor being, from his situation, the opinion by which 
it is my duty to be guided in all cases connected with the 
profession of which he is the head, I have only to express 
the great regret I feel at being placed in a situation, which 
compels me to a decision contrary to your wishes and re- 
quest. I am persuaded you will give full credit to the 
sincerity of this feeling, and I beg you will believe me, 
with truth and regard, my dear Sir, most faithfully yours, 


Mr. Grattan's opinion as to the merits and claims 
of Mr. Berwick — the inattention observed towards 



the remnant of the Irish party — " the victims of 
their votes," and his interference in consequence 
with the British and Irish cabinets, may be inferred 
from the statement made in his subsequent letter, 
and from the disappointment that befell those to 
whom he alludes. Mr. William Preston had been 
an early friend of Lord Charlemont, his name ap- 
pears mentioned with credit in a letter of Horace 
Walpole's (he had written against Hutchinson's 
appointment to the Provostship of Trinity College). 
He was an ingenious, clever, and public-spirited 
person : he had lent his pen, both in prose and 
poetry, to the service of his country. The other 
three that the party were (as Mr. Grattan says) 
in " honour bound to," were Curran, Fletcher, and 
Hardy. When these men had been proscribed by 
Lord Clare, as mentioned in a foregoing volume,* 
a document was signed by the opposition party 
known by the term of " The Round Robin," by 
which it was agreed that they would not take 
office unless altogether. Although circumstances 
had altered their relationship, and the Union had 
changed the face of affairs, lessened their indi- 
vidual interest, and destroyed their weight as a 
party, still, in point of honor, the claims of those 
who remained after their struggle for the constitu- 
tion of their country, were as imperative upon the 
leaders of the party as ever. So it appeared to 
Mr. Grattan ; and it was this that affronted Mr. 
Curran, and led to the subsequent disagreement 
between him and Mr. Ponsonby, as he considered 
that Mr. Ponsonby should not have taken office 
till he had been provided for ; the English party 
and the English connexion^ had made him Lord 

* Ante, vol. iii. p. 383. Mr. Grattan, Mr. Curran, Mr. Hardy, Mr. 
Ponsonby, Lord Ponsonby, and Lord Moira's names are subscribed to 
the document. 

f His niece, daughter of W. B. Ponsonby, who was created a British 
peer in March, 1806, had intermarried, in 1794, with Mr. (afterwards 
Lord) Grey. 



Chancellor, and the Irish party and the Irish 
connexion — Hardy and Curran — were postponed. 
The Irish people had too quick a discernment not 
to perceive this circumstance, and Mr. Grattan 
very properly thought himself bound to interpose; 
he knew better than any one how absurd was the 
convenient doctrine of "measures not men" so 
often practised in Ireland, and how fatally Ireland 
had been cheated out of her measures because 
she wanted the men to enforce them. But unfor- 
tunately Mr. Grattan was of all persons the worst 
for managing* affairs of that nature ; his mind 
could not stoop to the trickery and manoeuvre of 
ministerial arrangements ; he disliked the eternal 
character of an Irish petitioner, still more that of 
a suppliant. He forbore to make any personal re- 
quest, and neglected to urge sufficiently the public 
claims of many faithful persons, under the appre- 
hension that it might afTect his own independence. 
But this was a mistaken notion on his part — fatal 
as well as fastidious; for he should have recollected 
that Ireland was his client ; that at the British ca- 
binet she had no better advocate ; and that it was 
unjust and injurious to her friends, as well as pre- 
judicial to the character of the Government. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick. 

Patrick's Day, 180C. 
My dear Berwick, — Dean Warburton owes his bishop- 
ric (he is to be bishop) to Lord Moira. Were I to appoint 
the bishop, it vvould be another person. Preston ought to 
be angry, very angry, with himself ; other men are unfor- 
tunate ; he, like a man starving — five long letters and a 
duplicate — asking and asking for what he was eminently 
unfit. I know not whether Plunket stays, I believe he 
does not ; but I know Bushe does. There has been a 
little mystery in the management of the arrangements; I 
have kept clear of it. There are three persons to whom in 
honour we are bound ; two, I am certain, are taken care 

VOL. V. X 




of ; the third, Hardy, I understand, is postponed — if so, I 
shall state his case to such of the Cabinet as I know, 
strongly. It would be scandalous that Unionists should 
be crammed, and anti-Unionists starve. The postpone- 
ment may be only for a little time — however, it should not 
exist. I am glad the Catholics determined against bring- 
ing forward their measures. What do you think of the 
bill compelling the residence of the clergy ? I think there 
may be a great hardship in it. I find myself clear of the 
scrambling committee, having given in no list, and made 
no request. — Yours, ever. 

H. G. 

I hope Mrs. B. and the children are well ; remember me 
to Lady Moira. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, 31st March, 1806. 
My dear M'Can, — I shall write to Ponsonby about 

I got from Mr. O'Conor an account of the Catholic 
proceedings ; they hurt themselves by their divisions, and 
by the confusion of their meetings; they should have met 
once for all ; repeated meetings can have no good effect. I 
got the pamphlets ; one of them is the old story — Parlia- 
mentary Reform, after Parliament is abolished ; the cloven 
foot is plain enough, the Catholics must keep clear of the 
United Irishmen, and the doctrine of Universal Suffrage, 
and Parliamentary Reform. The Catholics cannot reform 
the British Parliament, and have no Parliament of their 
own country. I am sorry M'Donnell* should be an ob- 
ject of jealousy, he is a worthy man, so is Byrne. # What- 
ever is done or said by the Catholics, great care should be 
taken to give the Orangemen no advantage ; now faction is 
down, nothing but imprudence on the other side can 
raise it. 

How is Forbes? Hardy, I believe, is secured; the ap- 
plications in his favour have been decisive. Donoughmore 
is to be one of the postmasters. The law promotions, I 
suppose, are known. Is Curran in good spirits ? I got a 
letter from Skeys,f he fears he is forgotten ; he is not for- 

* Both highly respected Roman Catholic merchants, 
f A public spirited citizen of Dublin, 



gotten, nor yet provided for, nor is there anything that I 
know to give him. 

You saw the budget — Lord H. Petty was clear and well 
on the subject; the Ministry could have any loan they 
desired. — Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 
Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, April 1st, 1806. 

My dear M'Can, — Send me a newspaper now and 
then, and let me know how the Duke of Bedford was re- 
ceived. The Catholics on the 12th should guard against 
tumult or mobbishness. I read the pamphlet, from whence 
I judge a paper war is commenced.*" I read the other; I 
see the author has alluded to me; but he does not mean 
me ill ; he wishes me well, I know it, therefore I do not 
wish to say anything about this pamphlet/f- which might 
be considered as censure, nor should I have communicated 
a sentiment except to you confidentially ; but the truth is, 
Drennan is not a rebel, but an enthusiast, and, on the 
subject of Parliamentary reform, wild and chimerical, like 
old Dr. Emmett. Ponsonby was drawn by the people — I 
am glad of it; I think he will act well. Are the Catho- 
lics registering ? I hear Shaw has begun his canvass — if 
so, my friends will be active. 

The death of the Duchess of Devonshire makes the 
town melancholy, that is, so much of it as has any feeling. 
— Yours ever, 

II. Grattan. 
Mr. Grattan to James Grattan. 

April 7th, 1806. 

My dear James, — Is Fanny i in a good state of health ? 
Does Hanlon mean to go mad ? Anne, versus facet ? As 
to your horse, sell him ; not a sound one — 201. was no price 
for a sound horse. Remember me to M'Can. I begin to 
wish myself at Tinnehinch. Tell me what is done for 
Curran — I hear what I did not know before, that there are 
difficulties. "What are the politics of Dublin ? The news 
here is bad ; Prussia against us, Denmark not certain. 

* Attacking the Whigs. 

t On Reform, Sec., by Drennan, an able writer, and very sanguine. 
I A favourite dog. 

x 2 



Lord Castlereagh # called this a bed of roses, a very vulgar, 
and, in the application, a most inapplicable metaphor. 
His speech was not bad, it had some point and address, 
but no solidity. Fox was well in his answer; Henryf 
heard Fox, but was eating beefsteaks when he should have 
heard Castlereagh ; I believe the debates tire him exceed- 
ingly — he will get enough of them. Mother and sisters all 
well. Remember me to Mr. Gannon.J — Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, April 15th, 1806. 

My dear M'Can, — I enclose two letters to you; I 
thank you for yours. You may depend on it Curran is to 
be taken care of ; his friends here are perfectly impressed 
that he is to be next to Ponsonby. There never was an idea 
to the contrary among them ; there may be delay which one 
is sorry for, but no one of his ministerial friends have an 
idea that he is to be postponed to any man except # # 

Hardy is secure, his promotion has not yet taken place 
because some arrangement, I suppose, must precede it; 
it were better certainly if those things had been done at 
the outset, but they will be done. The Duke of Bedford, 
in going to Ireland, has no idea whatever, but that of doing 
good and serving the two countries : — his manners are re- 
served — his principles excellent. I think he showed good 
sense in his distinction between the College and the Cor- 
poration,^ than which no body can be more corrupt. 

I think the Catholics are wise in their moderation ; it 
would be a great object to their enemies to urge them to 
violence, in order to bring back the Government into the 
arms of the Old Court, which will not be the case except 
in consequence of intemperance on the side of the people. 
— Yours ever, 

H. G. 

* On Mr. Windham's motion regarding the military establishments, 
3rd April. 

f Anxious to hear Mr. Fox, I left Dublin College, — its severe studies, 
its hard-earned honours, and, above all, its useful, excellent, and ever- 
to-be-preserved institution (the Historical Society). Fox spoke on the 
Hanover treaty; his appearance is to my mind as fresh as ever; I 
never heard anything since comparable to him ; but it was visible that 
his race was run — the hand of death had seized him. — (Note of Editor.) 

% The private tutor, afterwards fellow of Dublin College. 

§ In his answer to the addresses from those bodies. 



Hamilton Rowan, as already stated in the fourth 
volume, had been sentenced in 1794 to a fine of 
500/. and an imprisonment for two years for a 
libel that he neither wrote nor published. It was 
an address to the Volunteers, under the appella- 
tion of Citizen Soldiers. To avoid this unjust 
punishment he escaped from prison, and went to 
America. Mean time he was proclaimed by the 
Lord-Lieutenant (Westmoreland), and not appear- 
ing, was outlawed. In 1805 the outlawry was 
reversed, and he returned to Ireland. To him 
Mr. Sampson applied, in order to procure an in- 
terview with Mr. Grattan. Sampson's case was a 
hard one : he was a native of Derry ; his pro- 
fession, — the law ; his religion, — the Protestant ; 
and his politics, — those of Reform. He did not 
belong to the United Irishmen, nor had he ever 
joined their societies, but as their counsel had 
defended them, and being connected with the 
north, he had supported Lord Castlereagh's po- 
pular views and principles (then Mr. Robert 
Stewart, and an ardent Reformer) ; but when the 
latter changed, and when the Habeas Corpus Act 
was suspended and military law prevailed, Samp- 
son was no longer safe, — he became an object of 
suspicion to the Government ; and though no 
accusation was brought against him, he thought it 
better to go to England ; but he was arrested 
there, and brought back (in April, 1798) to Dub- 
lin. The object, however (for that was the Go- 
vernment tactique), was not to bring him to trial. 
He demanded one ; it was refused : and under 
terror of incarceration, without the Habeas Corpus 
Act to protect him, he was compelled to submit, 
and obliged to go into banishment. Owing to his 
bad state of health, he was induced to go to Por- 
tugal — was shiprecked in Wales — got to Lisbon, 
where he experienced the severest treatment — 



was arrested and imprisoned at Oporto. At length 
he was sent, against his will, to France ; thence 
he got to Hamburgh, where he remained till 1806. 
He had applied to Mr. Pitt's Government for leave 
to settle his affairs in Ireland prior to his departure 
for ever to America, but that was not complied 
with; and when the Whig party came into power, 
he wrote to Mr. Ponsonby, Mr. Grattan, and Lord 
Moira, whom he had known in 1797, and to whom 
he had supplied some useful information relative 
to his motion in the House of Lords respecting 
Ireland. Having been included in the list of 
those who were banished, he had no right to re- 
turn ; but he got a passport from the British 
minister at Hamburgh, and presented himself to 
Lord Spencer. On this he was committed, and 
obliged to depart for America. In his autobio- 
graphy he complains that Mr. Grattan did not 
reply to his application ; hence it would seem 
that Mr. Hamilton Rowan did not communicate 
to him what Mr. Grattan stated. But what 
could Mr. Grattan do ? Plead, forsooth, the 
cause of a banished (or self-expatriated) Irishman 
before a British Privy Council ! before Lord Gren- 
ville ! Lord Sidmouth ! Lord Ellenborough ! Sir 
William Grant ! All he could have said to them, 
he said in the letter to Mr. Rowan, and it is to be 
regretted that this was not imparted to Mr. Samp- 
son. As to the charges against that individual, 
the writer of this has examined every document 
within his reach that relates to the history of those 
melancholy times, and he could not discover any- 
thing against Mr. Sampson. The reign of terror, 
and the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and 
the horrid tyranny of the day, can alone account 
for the cruel treatment he received. On his arrival 
in America he pursued his profession, and fully 
succeeded ; he was distinguished, liked, and re- 



spected. He lived to the age of 73, and died at 
New York in 1836. 

Mr. Grattan to Archibald Hamilton Rowan. 

LondoD, April 22nd, 180(5. 

My dear Sir, — I was favoured with your note of last 
night, but I cannot have an interview on Mr. Sampson's* 
object with any person whatever. 

Should his Majesty's Ministers, at any time, think pro- 
per to consult me regarding him, I shall tell them that it is 
a material circumstance in his case, that he has kept clear 
of France, and that farther, if Mr. Sampson went into re- 
bellion, Lord Clare and his Ministry were the cause of it. 
— Yours, very truly, 

H. Grattan. 

Sir John Newport had been appointed Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer for Ireland, — (the office 
which Mr. Grattan had declined to accept) ; he 
was well qualified to discharge its duties, and he 
did so with zeal and honesty. He was one of the 
most active men in or out of Parliament ; active 
in mind, in body, in word, and in thought. He 
was always on the alert; he was always at business; 
his pockets were bursting with Parliamentary pa- 
pers and accounts ; so that whether in or out of 
office, he was sure to be ready, and in general came 
well prepared on the subjects he dealt with. He 
was a very spirited little man, and a very useful 
member of Parliament ; perhaps somewhat too 
eager and rather too much of a partizan; very fond 
of his country 7 , a vigilant guardian of her interests, 
well acquainted with her state and her finances, — 
almost equal on this subject to Foster, and supe- 
rior to any other man in the House of Commons. 

He knew where every fact was to be found, and 
was indefatigable in his researches; he had papers 
by heart and dates at his fingers' ends, and used 

* See his Autobiography. Also Mr. Maddeu's United Irishmen, vol. 
ii. second series. 



to surprise and puzzle the ministers, who in general 
were afraid of him, got out of his way as well as they 
could, and nicknamed him " The Political Ferret." 

His speeches were said to be rather factious* 
and he was sometimes led into scrapes by erro- 
neous information and want of judgment ; but on 
the whole, he was one of the best and most useful 
members of the House of Commons. His weak 
point was enmity to Foster, and in the comparison 
he was always liable to the remark that Foster had 
opposed, and Newport supported, the Union. As 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foster showed more 
policy and foresight, for he delayed taxation, got 
loans for Ireland, and by this delay he somewhat 
strengthened her. Newport's financial committee 
laid the ground for increased taxation, which might 
have served the Whig administration, if they had 
been recalled to power, as the odium of heavy im- 
posts would then have fallen on the Tory party ; but 
Newport never reaped the fruits of this policy, as 
his friends were so long excluded. Thus his de- 
sire to obtain a triumph made him rash, and his 
policy proved infructuous, as Ireland could not 
bear additional taxes. If Newport had waited, 
England would have found herself less able to en- 
force them, as the wars in Spain and Portugal had 
weakened her, and Ireland would have been more 
able to resist. Foster's plan of loans certainly 
increased the debt, and accelerated the consolida- 
tion of the Exchequers, as provided for by the 
act of 1800. But the case of Ireland was one of 
difficulty and of distress, which sprung from the 
Union, and which in a few years settled itself, 
without the aid of any Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer — Irish or English — Whig or Tory ; for 
the weight of taxation and poverty so bore down 
the country, that in 1816 Ireland became in- 
solvent, and a national bankruptcy was declared. 



The statements made on the subject of the Bud- 
get will partly explain the situation of the country. 

In May, 1806, the discussion on the Irish 
Budget came on. It is a disagreeable and an 
uninteresting subject, but necessary to be con- 
sidered ; and therefore it is not out of place to 
state the remarks of the Chancellor of the Irish 
Exchequer and of Mr. Henry Parnell on the 
revenues and finances of Ireland. Both agreed 
as to the difficulties of the country, and the em- 
barrassments accumulated on her since the Union. 
The items are important, and evince a sad dete- 
rioration in the management of her affairs, from 
the period when, under the Irish Parliament, 
there was a surplus in the revenues and in the 
treasury. Sir John Newport stated the official 
value of the exports from Ireland at 5,200,000/. ; 
an amount, he said, greater than at any period 
since 1792. The joint charge — namely, two- 
seventeenths of the general expenditure of the 
empire — was 3,788,908/. in Irish money ; the 
separate charge for the interest of the debt was 
2,922,346/.; and the entire supply 8,975,194/. 
To meet which the revenue of Ireland was only 
3,800,000/. ; and with loans of 2,160,000/., trea- 
sury bills, and other articles of ways and means, 
amounted .to 9,181,455/., leaving a surplus of 
ways and means above the supply of 206,201/. 
This certainly was not a state of prosperity, but a 
progress of debt and an approach to ruin. 

He proposed new taxes, — 3<s\ 6d. per cwt. aug- 
mentation duty on sugar; 20 per cent, on tea 
(under 2s. 6d. a pound) ; 2s. per cwt. on iron. 
He proposed to repeal the existing stamp duties, 
and modify them by a new bill. As to the distil- 
leries, he proposed to take away duties on stills of 
certain dimensions. The export of linen from 



Ireland he stated to be 5,500,000 yards. This 
picture of the finances of Ireland was not flatter- 
ing ; but when Mr. Parnell came to analyse them 
he represented it in colours less pleasing by far. 
He stated that in 1792 the expenditure of Ireland 
was only 1,735,000/.; in 1805 it was 8,713,000/.: 
in 1792 the debt of Ireland was 2,422,000/. ; in 
1805 it was 58,344,000/.: that in 1792 the revenue 
of Ireland was 1,103,000/. ; and in 1805 it was 

The disparity between the revenue and the ex- 
penditure of Ireland was alarming. Ireland was 
expending at the rate of nine millions a year, with 
a revenue of only three millions ; the whole of 
which was mortgaged to pay the interest of the 
debt. But what was still more alarming was, 
that in 1803 new taxes had been imposed that 
were calculated to produce 380,000/.; in 1804 
more new taxes had been imposed, calculated 
also to produce 1,253,000/. ; and more taxes in 
1805, to produce 255,000/. Thus since 1802 
taxes had been imposed to the amount of 

I, 888,000/.; and yet the revenue had only in- 
creased 50,000/. ! With regard to the exports of 
Ireland, the official value of exports and imports 
in 1783 was 5,000,000/., and in 1802 was 

II, 000,000/.; the real value was 18,000,000/.; 
of which the imports were 8,000,000/. ; leaving a 
balance of trade in favour of Ireland amounting to 

With regard to the debt — If Ireland went 
on for the next fifteen years (when, by the 
Act of Union, she would be liable to pay equal 
taxes with England), her debt would be in the 
next five years 90,000,000/., in ten years would 
be 120,000,000/., and in fifteen years would be 
150,000,000/.; the interest of which the people 



of Ireland would be unable to pay. This predic- 
tion was more than verified, as in ten years Ire- 
land became bankrupt, and could pay neither 
taxes nor debt — principal or interest ! 

Mr. Foster observed that the debt of Ireland in 
1797 was but 7,000,000/. ; and if it went on in- 
creasing as it had done, would in 1807 amount to 

To such a state of embarrassment had the 
Union and the measures preparatory thereto reduced 
the people of Ireland ! How different from what 
was promised by Mr. Pitt and Lord Castlereagh 
when they proposed it ! 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, May 8th, 1806. 

My dear M'Can,— I trouble you to send the enclosed 
to Hartley — written according to your desire. I had a 
letter from Curran — he will be satisfied, I hope ; I saw 
Mr. Fox about his subject ; he may be sure that he has 
not been deserted by me, nor, I think, by Mr. Fox. 

The Irish Budget was opened last night. I thought it ne- 
cessary to say a few words to correct an idea that the country 
was extremely rich, and that more new taxes were eligible. 
The speech is not taken in the English papers ; I will send 
it to you by the evening post. I shall be soon in Ireland, 
viz. about the end of the month ; consult James about it. 
— Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 
Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, June 5th, 1806. 
My dear M'Can, — I thank you for your letter and for 
the papers. I hope to see you soon. The Irish business 
has almost gone through the House ; there was no occa- 
sion to speak on it, as there was no opposition to it. The 
business of our friends is not yet settled. Is Fletcher to 
be the judge ? Curran, I suppose, by this time is the 
Rolls ? Is Hardy a Commissioner ? Write to me on 
these subjects. Egan is here — I wish him well ; but 
Fletcher is the old veteran who has a prior claim, and 
ought to be the judge. Does Ponsonby satisfy ? Are his 


cuiiran's appointment [chap. IX. 

old friends pleased with him ? His brother is ill — I fear 
for his life. # 

I shall stay here a fortnight longer. The Ministry are 
strong ; on the late divisions the Opposition received a 
signal overthrow ; we had two. long debates ;+ sat up all 
night the first, and a great part of the second. I spoke 
the second, but not the speech in the papers. I depend 
on you for the news of Dublin. — Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, June 17th, 1806. 

My dear M'Can, — I got your letter of the 11th of 
June. I thought to have seen you before this, but have 
been detained in London by an operation, from which I am 
now recovered, but am not at liberty to set out for home 
for nine days to come ; it has confined me from Parlia- 
ment, and will do so for a week. The Courier and Star 
mis-stated me, I said the member had not given an exam- 
ple of good Irish oratory ,J or good Irish understanding. 

Ryan is quite in an error,§ 1 never interfered for him or 
against him, nor ever recommended or disrecommended 
Rawlings, nor took any part on similar subjects, and, 
therefore, Rawlings and Ryan have no occasion to thank 
me, or not to thank me ; mention this to Ryan when you 
see him. 

I am sorry to hear such an account from Ireland regard- 
ing bankruptcies ; a bill will be brought into Parliament 
on the subject. The Corn Bill|| is a good measure. We 
understand Curran is to be the Rolls, Hardy a Commis- 
sioner. — Yours, most truly, 

H. Grattan. 
Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, June 30th, 1806. 

My dear M'Can, — I shall see you in a very few days ; 

* He died shortly after. 

t On the Limited Service Bill. 

% On Mr. Windham's Training Bill — General Stewart had alluded to 
Mr. Grattan calling him the Irish orator. 
§ The person who had written to Mr. Fox. 

|| Sir John Newport's bill " to make the intercourse in grain between 
Great Britain and Ireland free and unrestrained" — a most useful mea- 
sure, which served England, increased the exports of Ireland, and 
assisted her agriculture. 




I am quite recovered ; I long to get to Ireland. The ac- 
count you give me of our friend Hardy gives me much 
satisfaction. Curran's business is long in settling — I hope 
it will be properly and satisfactorily concluded ; it is not 
for want of time ; I have not been at home when his son 
called — I hope to see him to-day. If Fletcher be the 
Judge he will be a good one — his manners are rough, but 
his heart and judgment excellent. They talk of peace. 

I am sorry that there should be bankruptcies in Ireland 
and of such extensive mischief — but I am not surprised* 
when dirty paper is made money — such money will at last 
turn out to be dirty paper ; some measure will be taken, 
but it is late, not I hope too late. I enclose a letter to 
our friend, not recollecting his address — remember me to 
him. — Yours ever, 

H. G. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

Stradbally, July 24th, 1806. 

My dear M'Can, — I got the evening paper. The con- 
test about Curran is a foolish one ; the opponents disclaim 
any personal objection, and by voting addresses f to dif- 
ferent Chancellors, they have disclaimed any objections to 
the principle. What then do they object to, if neither to 
the man nor to the principle ? 

I have not heard anything about Fox since the 14th of 
this month. I received two letters of that date, from his 
house, mentioning that he was much better, that his looks 
had much improved, and that his friends justly hoped he 

* Millers and shopkeepers became bankers and issued notes, and did 
much injury to the country. 

f A difference of opinion had at first arisen among the bar as to the 
propriety of presenting an address to Mr. Curran on his appointment to 
the Rolls. A meeting, however, was convened, and an address voted 
to him ; his reply will be found in the second volume of his life, p. 164. 
It was a matter of regret that the high tone and public spirit of that body 
had been much impaired by the conduct of Lord Chancellor Clare and 
by the numerous offices and places that his government had created and 
carved out for its members. The principles too, which he instilled into 
them were unfortunately continued for a long time by Lord Manners, 
who gave not merely a high Tory tinge, but a character of prejudice 
and religious bigotry to all his proceedings and connexions with that 
body, and thus completed the original injury done to its reputation and 
its independence. 


duke of Bedford's 

[chap. IX. 

would be restored to a state of tolerable health — those were 
the words.-— Yours ever, 

H. G. 

I hope you have no hay, otherwise you will be an un- 
happy man. I wish, instead of meadows, I had a good 
sea farm at Tinnehinch, such as you have at Sandy- 

The Duke of Bedford's letter will be read with 
interest, and his remarks on Mr. Fox will be 
justly appreciated. Tis true he was a loss to 
Ireland ; the greatest she could then sustain, — 
almost the only friend she had in England, and 
one who would have been more efficient and more 
serviceable if he had possessed more power and 
enjoyed better health ; but he could not serve 
her, — he had France to deal with, and the nego- 
tiations then pending occupied his entire thoughts. 
The question was not between Ireland and Eng- 
land, but between England and France. Mr. 
Fox came too late to the assistance of Ireland ; 
the King had rendered her case almost hopeless, 
and had made up his mind against applying the 
proper, if not the only remedy. It was fortunate 
that George III. governed an island: had she been 
part of the continent, neither he, nor his system, 
nor his kingdom would have lasted for an hour. 
It was also fortunate that neither steam nor rail- 
ways were then known ; those powerful engines 
might have destroyed the bulwarks of a despotic 
government ; they may yet prove the best securi- 
ties for Irish freedom. 

The Lord Lieutenant to Mr. Grattan. 

Dublin Castle, September 30th, 1806. 
My dear Sir, — I beg leave to acquaint you, that avail- 

* A suburb of Dublin on the coast, where Mr. M'Can had a place 
that was washed by the waves. 



ing myself of your obliging acquiescence in the request I 
ventured to make, that you would lend your assistance to 
the Commission to be appointed, under the authority of 
the Act, of the last Session of Parliament, to inquire into 
the state and conditions of the schools, &c. I have named 
you one of the Commissioners under that Act, and I am 
persuaded that you will cheerfully give your powerful aid 
to an object of so much interest. It is, however, not only 
in this, but in matters of far greater moment, that I look 
with hope and confidence to your advice and assistance, in 
the severe and irreparable loss we have sustained, by the 
death* of that great, and good, and virtuous man, whom 
it has pleased Providence to take from us, and in a crisis 
of almost unexampled difficulty. Ireland has perhaps suf- 
fered more than any part of the empire, or of Europe ; the 
people of Ireland looked up to Mr. Fox with an unlimited 
confidence ; they knew his incorruptible integrity, his warm 
attachment to the dearest interests of Ireland, and they 
felt sure, that whilst power was in the hands of Mr. Fox, 
those interests would not be neglected or forsaken ; such, if 
I am not mistaken, were the feelings of the people of this 
country. The confidence they reposed in the Government 
of the country must, I fear, be much diminished by the 
death of him, whom they considered as their friend and 
protector. They can know but little of me ; yet, as I came 
here at his anxious and earnest solicitation, as the organ of 
his voice and of his wishes ; I feel it to be a duty I have to 
discharge to his memory, to seek the support and co-oper- 
ation of those, who are animated by the same feelings, the 
same principles, the same love of truth and freedom, the 
same abhorrence of treachery and oppression, and the same 
unequivocal regard for the interest and happiness of Ire- 
land, which were inseparable from his character and con- 
duct. Among them Mr. Grattan unquestionably stands 
the foremost. I have therefore to entreat, that as long as 
my administration in this country may last, that I may be 
favoured with your confidential opinions and advice in all 
matters connected with the welfare of this part of the 
empire. On this foundation I shall rest my best hopes of 
effecting any portion of that good, to this hitherto ill-used 
and neglected country, which, unmixed with ambition of 
any other nature, formed my sole inducement to accept the 

* He died of a dropsical complaint on the 13th of September, at the 
age of fifty-nine. 


situation I now hold. — I have the honour to be, with the 
most perfect esteem and regard, your very faithful and 
obedient servant, 


Sir John Newport to Mr. Grattan. 

New Park, 16th October, 1806. 
My dear Sir, — Will you excuse me for trespassing 
upon your time by requesting you will favour me with a 
line, to say whether the Committee of Inquiry into the 
State of Schools, in which you have kindly allowed your- 
self to be numbered, has yet commenced its operations ? I 
am anxious to learn, as it is in my mind a leading object, 
and there are amongst those to whom the inquiry is en- 
trusted, some to whom I look, from experience, with much 
and sanguine confidence. I need not say to which of the 
branches composing the commission I allude in this remark. 
I have just returned home from a visit to Cork, where I 
have been so feasted and so complimented, as to awaken 
every spark of vanity in my bosom ; my countrymen are 
indeed a generous and confiding people; perhaps over- 
much — they do not deserve to be treated as they too often 

You are, my dear sir, fully aware of the very trying and 
critical situation in which I am placed ; and indeed how 
fearfully we are all committed with the people, to whom 
we stand pledged against a continuance of those abuses 
which have pulled down ruin on our country and merited 
odium on our predecessors. The revenues collected with 
such difficulty, and by so many burthensome means, can 
no longer be diverted from the Exchequer into the pockets 
of individuals,* or we could never stand excused who have 
reprobated during many years such a system of peculation. 
I expect to be in Dublin at farthest by the first week of 
November, perhaps before it, when perhaps we may meet, 
which will always afford much pleasure to, — My dear Sir, 
yours most truly, 

John Newport. 

* This referred to some defaulter who wished intercession to be made 
for him with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, encouraged no doubt by 
the precedent set by the Government in the case of Sir William New- 
comen, who was forgiven a large portion of his defalcation at the period 
of the Union : the system of corruption then laid down it was hoped 
might be prolonged, if not perpetuated. In fact, the Union destroyed 
the morality as well as the liberty of the people. See ante, page 175. 



As reference has been made to the very im- 
portant subject of education, it appears better to 
transpose to this place a letter of Mr. Grattan's, 
though written some years later. He was always 
a strong advocate for the education of the people. 

Mr. Grattan to the Secretary op the Board of 

Welbeck Street, 25th March, 1811. 

Sir, — I had the honour to receive your letter, written 
by the commands of the Board of Education, expressing 
their desire that the absent members of that body should 
communicate by letter their plans on the subject of the 
education of the poorer orders of the people of Ireland. 
In obedience to the wishes of the board, I venture to sub- 
mit, what I do not presume to call a plan, but instead of 
one, a few ideas founded on that plan which the Legislature 
has already recommended. 

I would pursue the suggestion of the act that established 
parish-schools, with such alterations as must arise from 
the change of time, circumstances, and condition. Ac- 
cording to that act, I would recommend parish-schools as 
bringing education to every man's door ; but parish-schools 
better endowed than the present, and on a more extensive, 
and by far a more comprehensive foundation. 

And I would submit, as a proper subject-matter of edu- 
cation in those schools, not only the study of the English 
tongue, reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also the study 
of certain books of horticulture and agriculture, together 
with treatises on the care and knowledge of trees. 

I would recommend that such studies should be pursued 
in the English schools already established. 

I should recommend that in those parish-schools the 
christian religion should be taught; but that no particular 
description of it should form a part of their education — in 
the place thereof, it might perhaps not be improper to de- 
vise some general instructions regarding the four great 
duties of man, — duty to God, duty to one another, duty to 
the country, and duty to the government. 

I beg to add, that one great object of national education 
should be to unite the inhabitants of the island, and that 
such an event cannot be well accomplished, except they 
are taught to speak one common language, I think the 

vol, v. y 



diversity of language, and not the diversity of religion, 
constitutes a diversity of people. I should be very sorry 
that the Irish language should be forgotten ; but glad that 
the English language should be generally understood ; to 
obtain that end in Ireland, it is necessary that the schools 
formed on a plan of national education, which teach the 
English language, should not attempt to teach the English 
religion, because the Catholics who would resort to our 
schools to learn, will keep aloof if we attempt to make 
them proselytes to the other ; and we should, by that 
attempt, reject one great means of uniting our people ; and 
we shall continue to add to the imaginary political division, 
supposed to exist in a difference of religion, a real political 
division formed on the diversity of language. — I have the 
honour to be, your most faithful servant, 

Henry Grattan. 

Lord Fitz William's kindness was never wanting. 
There is undoubtedly in the English character 
this most valuable and estimable quality, — once a 
friend, always a friend! a noble and a national 
sentiment, too much confined to Great Britain. 
Politics, perhaps, are the only ingredients that are 
there permitted to embitter social intercourse. In 
some instances this has been too much the case ; 
and it is to be regretted that they are allowed to 
bear such sway in domestic life. Fortunately, 
however, they are freed from the asperity and un- 
courtliness with which religious differences in 
Ireland have tainted the sweets of private and 
domestic happiness. 

Lord Fitzwilliam to Mr. Grattan. 

Most secret and confidential. 

London, 13th October, 1806. 
My dear Grattan, — Dissolution of Parliament is 
fixed ; and will take place in less than a fortnight. Let 
me know if you will permit us to re-elect you at Malton. 
Pray direct to me at Wentworth, near Rotherham. — Ever 

Wentworth Fitzwilliam. 

Right Hon. H. Grattan. 



The offer from Lord FitzwiHtam was not 
accepted. Mr. Grattan's friends had called on 
him to stand for his native city, and he was 
accordingly put in nomination. He met with 
considerable opposition from the Orange and anti- 
Catholic party that continued to influence several 
of the Dublin corporations ; notwithstanding 
which, he was elected, along with Mr. Robert 
Shaw ; but Mr. La Touche, the other popular can- 
didate, and who stood on the same interest as 
Mr. Grattan, was defeated. 

On the 7th of November, the Guild of Merchants 
having assembled to consider the merits of the 
respective candidates, Mr. Grattan attended their 
hall. An interval of ten years had passed since 
he had addressed his fellow-citizens, in a cele- 
brated and remarkable letter, in which he bade 
them farewell. His predictions had unfortunately 
been verified, — an insurrection had been created, 
and the Parliament had been destroyed ; and it 
might have been thought that time sufficient had 
elapsed to permit political animosities to expire 

Guild of Merchants. 

Gentlemen, — In addressing this assembly, the repre- 
sentative of the mercantile interest of this city, and as such 
possessing, no doubt, much of that public and free spirit 
which belongs to trade, I feel much confidence — a con- 
fidence founded upon the consciousness that, in the course 
of not a short political life, I have laboured, probably not 
altogether without success, to promote both your trade 
and your liberty. With the history of those public labours, 
my fellow-citizens cannot be unacquainted. At a very 
early period, so early as the year 1778, I proposed an ad- 
dress to Parliament for the freedom of your trade. In 
1779, I contributed, and successfully, to carry the principle 
of that address into effect. In 1780, I moved a resolution 
in Parliament to assert the independency of the Irish 
legislature. In the year '81 I repeated that motion; in 
y 2 



the year '82 I carried it, and the Parliament of Ireland 
became Free. I afterwards continued these efforts, and 
proposed and carried various other measures for the 
better securing of that trade and that liberty, which the 
spirit of my country has assisted me to obtain. In '85 
your trade was attacked by the propositions; I opposed 
them, and exerted myself to defeat that attempt, as I have 
always opposed every attempt to take away, by influence, 
what has been obtained by integrity. In the years which 
followed, my labours were directed to the same objects. I 
opposed every measure tending to promote the influence of 
the crown at the expense of the constitution ; and most 
particularly did I apply myself to resist every measure 
which trenched upon the privileges and interests of the 
City of Dublin. In doing this, I did not apply myself to 
the passions or to the prejudices of my fellow-citizens; I 
consulted their interest only ; I did not cultivate the nar- 
row spirit of party. I did not apply myself to the little 
motives which may have sometimes influenced some of my 
countrymen ; I applied myself only to those great principles 
by which alone liberty can be acquired or preserved ; by 
which alone nations can be rendered prosperous, and great 
communities kept together. Without regard to the pre- 
judices of the people, or to the influence of the crown, I 
combated the abuses which prevailed in the different 
branches of the State and of the Constitution. The conse- 
quence was, what I could not but have foreseen, I made 
myself many enemies among those to whom such abuses 
were beneficial. I was assailed at different times by the 
persecution of the Minister, and by the violence of the 
people. I remained unsubdued by either. When the 
Constitution of Parliament was endangered, I forgot the 
past, I remembered nothing of my countrymen, but that 
they were fellow-citizens. I came back into public life to 
defend the Constitution we had obtained ; I came back 
oppressed by infirmity, and had to combat at once the 
power of the court and the vehemence of the people. I 
engaged in the defence of that Constitution, without any 
feeling of resentment for the obloquy or for the persecution 
I had suffered. I came without any feeling but for the 
interest of my fellow-citizens, accompanied by a determina- 
tion to defend it. After those services, if the situation 
of our country did not call for further exertions, I might 
have retired without dishonour ; and now, if my only 



object were to be in Parliament, I may come into it for a 
seat in another country, without trouble and without ex- 
pense. I prefer to this, the trouble, the fatigue, the anxietv 
of a popular election. Why do I prefer it? Because I 
think it would be but little honourable to this city, to my 
country, that the man who has faithfully and laboriously 
served her for thirty years, should be obliged to sit in Par- 
liament for a borough in another country, in order to serve 
his own, because it would appear a circumstance of whim- 
sical incongruity, if I, who had opposed and defeated the 
claims of England to legislate for Ireland, should be re- 
turned to Parliament by England, whose claims I had 
opposed, after rejection by that country whose legislative 
independence I had defended. But I am charged with 
having the support of Government. As to any undue ex- 
ertion of the influence of the Government in my favour, I 
call on you to judge of the truth or falsehood of that 
charge, by the character and conduct of those who support 
me, and of myself. Who are they that support me ? Are 
they not men who have ever opposed Government, when 
Government aimed at the independence and privileges of 
the people. Are they not men who have always sup- 
ported the freedom and independence of election against 
the power and influence of the crown? Men incapable of 
being commanded by any Government to do what was not 
consistent with the purest spirit of public virtue. To sup- 
pose that such men would betray their fame, and abuse 
the confidence of the public, to reduce this city to a 
borough, is a supposition contrary to common sense ; nor 
is it less so to suppose that this loyal city should capri- 
ciously and senselessly oppose a candidate, if otherwise un- 
exceptionable, merely because that candidate was not op- 
posed by the Government. 

As to myself, what has there been in my public life that 
can give colour to such a charge ? Why should I resort 
to unconstitutional influence to support me ? I offer myself 
to your city with no view to title, with no view to wealth, 
with no view to power. For what purpose, then, can I 
offer myself, but that of rendering, and continuing to 
render, service to the public. Shall I, who have, during 
thirty years, contended against the Crown for the people, 
now solicit the Crown to reduce this city to a borough, 
that I may represent it? Gentlemen, I might on such an 
occasion humble myself before you by professions, and by 


promises, and by entering into a detailed refutation of such 
charges, but I abstain, because I think I pay greater re- 
spect to your understandings, by referring to it for the 
answer of such senseless accusation, confident that you 
will listen to truth as spoken to you by facts within your 

With such pretensions, Gentlemen, I offer myself to you 
to represent this city in Parliament. In my canvass I have 
found a cordial reception, not merely such as belongs to 
an honest mind, but such as characterises a free people. 
Should this city return me to Parliament, I shall discharge 
my duty to them on the same principles I have hitherto 
done. Should this corporation concur with their fellow- 
citizens, I shall consider it an additional circumstance of 
gratification; should both reject me, should the city of 
Dublin refuse to elect me, I shall lament the inconstancy 
of the city, but I shall not desert their interests. 

Mr. John Keogh to Mr. Grattan. 

Mount Jerome, 8th November, 1806. 

My dear Sir, — I thank you for your kind note. I never 
regretted so much as at present my want of health, as it has 
prevented me from personally canvassing on this occasion. 
Whatever has occurred to my friends and to myself has 
been and will be done. We must have been lost to public 
and private virtue if we had deserted you. Your posterity 
will have a claim on ours, and your sons will, I trust, ex- 
perience their gratitude. As to yourself, your cause and 
that of Ireland are one. I need not say how happy I shall 
be to see you as you propose. Yet I cannot consent to the 
wasting one moment here of your time, which is now pe- 
culiarly precious. 

But if you will do me that honour after your election, I 
shall be more gratified than by seeing any other man in 
the empire. — I remain, most respectfully and sincerely, 
your faithful friend, 

John Keogh.* 

The Lord Lieutenant to Mr. Grattan. 

Phoenix Park, November 9th, 1806. 
My dear Sir, — I congratulate you on the termination 
of your labours and fatigue, as well as that they have ter- 

* One of the ablest of the Catholic body, see ante, vol. iv. page 82. 


minated as they ought, by placing you at the head of the 
poll. A government, the leading object of whose solicitude 
is the welfare of Ireland, cannot but feel a just pride in 
being honoured by the support of Mr. Grattan ; and the 
opinions of the citizens of Dublin, having thus shown them- 
selves to be in unison with those of the Government, I 
must look upon as a favourable era in my administration, 
and I willingly flatter myself that it may be considered as 
auspicious to the future prosperity of the empire. — 1 have 
the honour to be, with the most perfect esteem and regard, 
my dear Sir, your very faithful and obedient servant, 


There has been always a noble spirit in the 
character and composition of Irish women, as well 
as a sterling principle of virtue, both of which it 
would be well for their countrymen to imitate. 

Limerick tells of their boldness, and even their 
courage ; the old Countess of Desmond of their 
high bearing and intrepid dignity ; and here we 
have an instance of the independence of mind that 
influenced the descendant of that venerable lady. 
The feeling which prompted Mrs. Grattan at the 
time of the insurrection and the Union seemed to 
direct her on the present occasion ; and as at the 
one period she would not tolerate the idea that 
her country should be debased, so at the other 
she would not permit that her husband should be 

The Catholics, in the most honourable manner, 
subscribed 4,000/. to defray the expenses of the 
election, but Mr. Grattan would not accept it. 

Mrs. Grattan to James Hartley, Esq. 

7th December, 1806. 
My dear Sir, — Your letter was received, as I expressed 
myself in a hurried note yesterday, with much thanks. Our 
triumph being so complete, is an honour to his friends, 
that most respectable body of citizens, and our obligation 
to them is great, but though it does not lessen the obliga- 
tion, we must not receive any pecuniary assistance. 

328 lord fitzwilliam's letter [chap. IX. 

This letter is written to you in consequence of Mr. Grat- 
tan's and my decided determination. Do not attempt to 
make him alter it. You know he is not to be shaken when 
he feels himself to be in the right. You also will join us 
when it is to gratify me. I did not propose, at an earlier 
period, that he should pay the expenses, because I wished 
the world to see there were so many noble-minded men 
who would assist him in every acceptation of the word. It 
is to you I must apologise, as you will now have more 
trouble in the business. You must borrow the money and 
repay those who have subscribed — it may be difficult but 
you can overcome it — and be assured it will add to the 
obligations I am under to you. — Very truly yours, 

Henrietta Grattan. 

Lord Fitzwilliam to Mr. Grattan. 

Milton, December 28th, 1806. 

My dear Grattan, — A few days after the receipt of 
your letter, I wrote to the Duke of Bedford upon the sub- 
ject of M'Can,* but though your letter brought to my 
memory some imperfect recollection, that friendly inten- 
tions were entertained towards M'Can, during my adminis- 
tration, still, none of the particulars of his merits or claims 
occurring, I felt myself under the necessity of referring the 
Duke to you and to the Chancellor, for the grounds of his 
pretensions to favour. If you have not already been called 
upon on that subject, you may expect it. I assure you I 
took part in your triumph at Dublin, and felt relieved from 
great anxiety when I saw it complete. 

Though the exertions of the regular civil authority seem 
to have produced excellent effect in Ireland, still it is a 
subject of much lamentation, if not of serious f remorse, 

* Directly or indirectly no one connected with Mr. Grattan ever 
received any situation from any government; in this case, Mr. M'Can 
had public claims, he had been secretary to the Whig Club, a spirited 
and active supporter, he had been instrumental in getting the speeches 
of the opposition members published — particularly those that were pre- 
served at the period of the Union. lie never was promoted to any 
place, and he used often to say to Mr. Grattan, " You are an excellent 
patriot, but a very bad patron/' 

f This has reference to the proceedings in the counties of Sligo, 
Mayo, Leitrim, Longford, and Cavan, by bodies of men called Threshers, 
who resisted the payments to the Established Church, and fees and dues 
to the Catholic clergy, they attacked and injured individuals who refused 
to obey their orders and regulations. A special commission was sent to 



that there should be occasion for any exertions whatever. 
All that one has to observe is, that there is no good with- 
out its evil. I hope we shall see you soon. The ample 
display of all the minutes of negotiation, which Buona- 
parte has himself thought proper to make, and to put us 
under the necessity of making, will, I trust, prove not un- 
serviceable, as it brings to light, distinct intentions, by 
undisguised professions ;* intentions, indeed, that the 
parties concerned ought to have discovered in the prin- 
ciples of his conduct, but to which they have hitherto 
thought proper to shut their eyes ; the light, however, now 
bursts in upon them with a glare not to be avoided ; they 
must see whether they will or no. 

Make my best respects to Mrs. G. — Ever truly yours, 
Wentworth Fitzwilliam. 

Rt. Hon. H. Grattan. 

these counties in the month of December, at which several convictions 
look place, and by degrees the disturbances subsided. Disturbances 
such as these have been for too long a time the disgrace of the country; 
they sprung from the oppressive system of tithes, the evils of which the 
Governments of Ireland neglected to remedy. 

* The dispatches and correspondence of Mr. Fox, Talleyrand, and the 
French Government, from which the ambitious designs of the Emperor 
were but too clearly visible. 



The Duke of Bedford's letter on a provision for the Catholic clergy. — 
Mr. Grattan's opinion thereon. — Also Edmund Burke's. — Proceed- 
ings of the Catholics as to their petition in 1807. — Mr. Ponsonby's 
opinion and letter thereon. — Meeting of the new Parliament. — Lord 
Grenville and Lord Howick continued in the ministry. — Remarks on 
their character. — The Catholic Military Bill at first approved of, then 
objected to, by the King. — The bill abandoned. — Unconstitutional 
pledge demanded by the King. — Refused. — They are dismissed. — Mr. 
Grattan's letter to the Duke of Bedford on the subject. — -His letter to 
Lord Fingall on the Catholic petition. — Speech of Mr. Keogh. — Re- 
solution in favour of the Duke of Bedford. — His reply. — Mr. Pres- 
ton's death. — Mr. Hardy his successor. — Mr. Grattan's letter to Mr.. 
Berwick.— No-Popery administration. — Their conduct. — Their cha- 
racter. — Mr. Canning. — Mr. Perceval. — House of Commons desert 
the Whigs, and support Mr. Perceval's party. — Parliament dissolved. 
— Unconstitutional efforts of the Tories at the elections. — Great ma- 
jority in their favour in the House of Commons. — Insurrection and 
Arms bill. — Mr. Grattan's conduct. — Mr. Sheridan's motion on the 
state of Ireland.— Speech of Mr. Grattan thereon. — His letters on the 
subject. — -To Mr. Berwick and Mr. M'Can, and to H. Grattan, jun. 

The following letter will be read with interest by 
all who set a value on private friendship and 
public virtue. Hardy trembled not only for his 
fate, but for that of the country, and he knew full 
well that Mr. Fox was the last hope that Ireland 
had. The appeal to Mr. Grattan was a feeling- 
one, and the opinion as to the Castle of Dublin 
was perfectly just. That never was a place where 
Irish patriotism was rewarded. 

Mr. Hardy to Mr. Grattan. 

January 5th, 1807. 
As I shall not be so fortunate as to see you again till 
next summer, when, please God, we may meet, I can 


only say, and do say it from my heart, that, next to the 
inhabitants of Tinnehinch, there does not exist that person 
on this earth, who is more truly and more disinterestedly 
attached to you than myself. Let the tide of emolument 
run in what current it may, never — never till my last hour 
shall I forget the man at whose house, and in whose 
family, I passed so many, so happy days. You will oblige 
me beyond measure if you will let me know by one line 
from Bath, or London, how dear Mrs. Grattan does, for, 
indeed, I am, and ever must be, anxious about her. 

Adieu — my heart is heavy at parting from you all. As 
to situation, I can only say, that if you state my claims to 
the Duke, as you, and only you can, I shall look on myself 
as secure ; if you do not, God's will be done, for I am sure 
nothing will be done at the Castle. — Ever, with the truest 
affection, yours, 

Francis Hardy. 
The Lord Lieutenant to Mr. Grattan. 

PhcEnix Park, January 9th, 1807. 

Dear Sir, — When you were good enough to call upon 
me at the Castle, on the day previous to your sailing for 
England, it entirely escaped me, in the course of our con- 
versation, to name to you one very material point of the 
future policy to be pursued in regard to Ireland, upon 
which 1 wish much to have the advantage of your opinion 
and advice. It relates to the propriety, efficacy, and wis- 
dom of the Government of the country, making a provision 
for the Roman Catholic clergy. This is a measure that 
has frequently been discussed, I believe, by former adminis- 
trations, sometimes thought right, but neglected to be 
carried into effect through a timid or temporizing policy, 
which, unhappily for Ireland, has too often prevailed among 
my predecessors, and palsied all those efforts which, under 
a temper of combined prudence and vigour, firmness and 
decision, might have made this country very different from 
what she is. 

I am aware that there are objections to this measure, 
and that we should not fail to meet with much opposition 
in the progress of it, but this alone should not deter us 
from attempting it, if a great practical benefit is likely to 
be the result of such a measure. Some who are friendly 
to it, think that this is not a favourable moment to bring it 


forward, but I confess this objection does not strike me. 
I know the time was, when the Catholic bishops and 
priests would not have accepted the boon, if offered, from 
an apprehension that it might weaken their influence with 
their flocks, and that the laity might look upon them with 
suspicion. ####### 

The remainder of this letter was unfortunately- 
lost, and the answer cannot be procured. It is a 
circumstance the more to be regretted, as, at the 
present moment, the subject alluded to is under 
the consideration of both countries. After a lapse 
of forty years, the expediency of buying up the 
Catholics of Ireland, by bribing their clergy, is the 
political process put in agitation — the last resource 
of Government on the failure of the Union, and 
the forlorn hope of the British minister. The 
question is now pending in the national balance, 
and the only countervailing weights to it, seem, at 
present, to be the poverty of Ireland and the 
bigotry of Great Britain. 

The opinion of Mr. Grattan, therefore, maybe of 
service, and it is important to know, that he was 
decidedly averse to such a proposition — (his sen- 
timents on the subject of the veto, which was 
brought forward in the ensuing year, will appear 
in the Eleventh Chapter). He always thought it 
would be dangerous to give the Crown power over 
the Catholic church ; that it would be used as in 
the Protestant church, and liberty would be the 
victim ; he said that he doubted if emancipation 
had been granted on such conditions, whether the 
benefit resulting from the admission of the Ca- 
tholics, would be equal to the injury likely to arise 
from granting so much power to the Crown, and 
he was almost of opinion that the evil would be 
greater than the benefit. He observed, that if the 
Catholic clergy were paid by the Government, 
their influence over the people would be preju- 


dicial. At the period of the Union, the plan pro- 
posed was, to give salaries not attached to the See, 
but at the will of the Government, so that the 
salary could be withdrawn if the clergy displeased, 
or did not court the minister. It was by means 
such as these that the Presbyterian clergy were 
silenced — they were bribed by the Regium Donum 
— Government divided them into classes, and the 
salaries of the several classes were then raised, 
lest they should become troublesome, and ever 
since that event they have been quiet. This was 
a measure of Lord Castlereagh ; the measure was 
one of bribery, and Mr. Wickham, who was 
secretary, told Mr. Grattan that the plan had 
been adopted in order to prevent any danger to 
the Protestant church establishment. 

Such were Mr. Grattan's sentiments, and they 
have been confirmed by great authority. Edmund 
Burke, in his Correspondence, published in 1844, 
by Lord Fitzwilliam and General Sir R. Bourke, 
writes on the subject of Maynooth College to Dr. 
Hussey, in 1795, and there expresses, in the 
strongest terms, his objection to the interference 
of Government with the Catholic clergy. His re- 
marks are subjoined.* 

* "All other interference (except that of laying the accounts before 
Parliament) whatever, if I were in the place of these reverend persons, 
I would resist; and would much rather trust to God's good providence, 
and the contributions of your own people, for the education of your 
clergy, than to put into the hands of your known, avowed, and implac- 
able enemies — into the hands of those who make it their merit and their 
boast, that they are your enemies — the very fountains of your morals 
and your religion. I have considered this matter at large, and at 
various times, and I have considered it in relation to the designs of your 
enemies. The scheme of these colleges, as you well know, did not ori- 
ginate from them. But they will endeavour to pervert the benevolence 
and liberality of others into an instrument of their own evil purposes. 
Be well assured, that they never did, and that they never will, consent 
to give one shilling of money for any other purpose than to do you mis- 
chief. If you consent to put your clerical education, or any other part 
of your education, under their direction or control, then you will have 
sold your religion for their money. There will be an end, not only of 


The Catholics had held several meetings on the 
subject of their claims, and had appointed com- 
mittees and sub-committees for the purpose of 
forwarding them. Sensible of the loss they had 
sustained by the death of Mr. Fox, but unac- 
quainted with the other members of the Whig 
interest in England, and ignorant of the state of 
affairs and parties, they did not look with implicit 
confidence to the British Government ; they did 
not comprehend the policy of petitioning at one 
moment and not petitioning at another, neither did 
they understand the nice distinctions or the pru- 
dent delicacy which would lead them to consult 
the prejudices of their masters — those who were to 
be the Donors of their Rights. They had not for- 

the Catholic religion, but of all religion, all morality, all law, and all 
order, in that unhappy kingdom." — Vol. iv. p. 298. 

" I strongly suspect that an insidious court will be paid to your 
clergy; what friends would bestow as gifts, enemies will give as bribes. 
There has been for certain, amongst your Irish politicians, a scheme 
(amongst other schemes for the distraction and ruin of the kingdom) for 
dividing the clergy from the laity, and the lower classes of Catholic 
laity from the higher. I know that they already value themselves on 
their success in this wicked and senseless project, and they hope that 
the Catholic clergy will be brought, by management, to act their part in 
this design against the people, of consideration and property amongst 
them. 1 have no doubt that the sagacity and vigilance of the Catholic 
clergy will soon convince them of their mistake; and that they are never 
to be seduced into a separation from the higher orders, or intimidated 
into a dereliction of the lower orders, but that they will take one com- 
mon fate, and sink or swim with their brethren of every description." — 
Vol. iv. p. 302. 

"I am sure that the constant meddling of the bishops and the 
clergy with the Castle, and of the Castle with them, will infallibly set 
them ill with their own body. All the weight which hitherto the clergy 
have had in keeping the people quiet, will be wholly lost if once this 
should happen; at best, you will soon have a marked schism, and more 
than one kind; and I am very much mistaken if this very thing is not 
intended, and diligently and systematically pursued. I am steadily of 
my old opinion, that this affair had better be wholly dropped, and this 
government boon, with civility and acknowledgment declined, than to 
subject yourselves and your religion to your known and avowed ene- 
mies, who connect their very interest with your humiliation, and found 
their own reputation on the destruction of yours. I have said so much 
on this point already, that I shall trouble you no more about it/' — Vol. 
iv. p. 322. 



gotten the advice of Lord Grenville, to petition 
session after session till their prayers should be 

Accordingly, on the 24th of February, they re- 
solved that Lord Fingall should request Mr. 
Grattan to present their petition to Parliament. 
Mr. Grattan had, however, anticipated this com- 
munication, and, on the 21st, had given his opinion 
to the Catholic party. He had no doubt calcu- 
lated all the chances, and having made up his 
mind, was not to be moved from his resolve. He 
saw that the Parliament was new, and its senti- 
ments unknown ; if, then, the petition had been 
merely laid on the table, and no further motion 
made, that would have been a sign of weakness ; 
if it had been well received by the Commons, and 
a bill brought in, the Lords were at hand, under 
the guidance of the Duke of York, the Duke of 
Cumberland, Lord Sidmouth and his friend — the 
King — to discomfit and dismiss at once both the 
measure and the ministry. Ireland would then 
have been considered as the cause of their over- 
throw; the charge of turning out the Whigs would 
have been brought against her throughout England, 
and she would thereby have lost many friends, 
and made many enemies. To avoid this, and to 
save Ireland from the catastrophe and the accusa- 
tion, was Mr. Grattan's policy; it was a judicious 
one, and, as events turned out, was a strong de- 
monstration of his sagacity and foresight, and 
showed that he knew how to conduct a policy, 
and also how to protect a party. Scarcely had a 
feeble and secondary attempt in favour of religious 
toleration been pressed upon the King by the 
successor of Mr. Fox, when his Majesty ran rebel 
to his people, pleaded his oath in bar, raised his 
standard against them, and, in the person of Mr. 
Perceval, found a second Clare, with all his bigotry, 


and with more than his religion ; prostrated the 
recusant* "Whigs, and scattered them, their party 
and their principles, to the winds. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, February 21st, 1807. 
My dear M'Can, — I just received your letter. I will 
not make the motion for the consideration of the Catholic 
petition, because it is against my opinion, so they had 
better apply to some other person, as my refusal, which I 
must give to the application, would perhaps offend the 
Catholics. I never will make a motion of which I disap- 
prove. I respect and love the Catholics, and it is on their 
account I shall not be instrumental to a business which 
may do them an injury. If their question does come on, 
I will support it, but I will not be an instrument to bring 
it on. I wish you could prevent their application : talk to 
Wallace. — Yours ever, 

H. G. 

Mr. Ponsonby's opinions as to the policy of de- 
clining to urge the claims of the Catholics upon 
Parliament, coincided with those of Mr. Grattan, 
which had been conveyed to his friends in Ire- 
land in the preceding letter. So far, their senti- 
ments were in unison. Another subject, however, 
was brought forward in this letter, namely, the 
reference to those whom Mr. Ponsonby calls 
" Separatists and allies of France" Here it is to 
be supposed that the information of the Chancellor 
must have been accurate, upon which to found so 
grave a suspicion, and to venture so serious a 
charge. The view he took thereon was not for 
any party purposes, he stated his deliberate 
opinion, formed, no doubt, upon the best infor- 
mation, and conveyed it to one who had at heart, 
not only the enfranchisement of the Catholics, but 
the security of the Empire. Upon this Mr. Grat- 

• Highly to their credit they refused to give a pledge not to urge the 
King further on the Catholic question. 


tan acted, and he gave his support shortly after to 
two bills, prepared by the Attorney and Solicitor- 
General (the Arms and Insurrection Acts), which 
had been passed by the Irish Parliament in 1796 
and 97, and had now been reframed with Mr. Elliot's 
and Mr.Ponsonby's knowledge, but which raised so 
great a storm against him, that it required all his cool- 
ness and independent spirit to encounter it. The 
statement that Mr. PonsonbyandMr.Grattan made 
was not new, for there always hasbeen an anti-Eng- 
lish party in Ireland; and for this reason, because 
the laws have always been anti-Irish, and so long as 
such laws continue, whether in spirit or in prin- 
ciple, so long, and long after (for effects continue 
beyond their causes), there will always be such a 
party ; certain to increase every day, and likely 
to q;row more troublesome and more dangerous. 
It may be called French, or American, but it will 
become Irish and national : for nine millions of 
people will at length begin to think they ought to 
have a country and a name. 

The Lord Chancellor to Mr. Grattan. 

Ely Place, March 7th, 1807. 
My dear Grattan, — The Catholics are much divided 
in sentiment, though not at present in action, almost all, I 
believe I might say all, the persons considerable for their 
property or situation lament the precipitancy of their pro- 
ceedings, and would be glad to withdraw their petition, 
but the violent party in this town urge every thing on, and 
the others are afraid to take an open and declared part 
against them, even Keogh and Murphy are become objects 
of suspicion to many of their own people, and at present, a 
Mr. Malone, a merchant here, as I believe, is the great 
leader and driver of the hot-headed party. They have sent 
for Lord Fingall to town, and want to get him to carry the 
petition to you earlier than had been intended. The mo- 
derate party (I believe it to be the most numerous) would 
be glad to get out of the scrape entirely, but, as they think 
that cannot be done, they would be well pleased to have 
the petition received, and laid upon the table, without hav- 

VOL. V. Z 


ing any questions put upon it; the others desire a debate, 
and some, you may rely upon it, wish for a rejection. They 
are, 1 think, divided into three parties ; the people of pro- 
perty and education, who are contented to postpone their 
claims; the people of the middling orders, in this and in 
the country towns, who wish to urge them in a vain hope 
of carrying them ; and the people who wish to urge them 
on purpose to have them rejected, and who are to be looked 
on as real separatists, and the allies of France, This last 
party would, I believe, be inconsiderable, if it had not 
means of imposing on or deluding the others. 

From the best information, however, which I can obtain, 
I think your answer, strongly dissuading them from perse- 
vering in their petition, will have a great effect, and if it 
cannot procure the total abandonment of it, will induce 
them to acquiesce in its lying silently on the table. They 
all know my opinion perfectly well, and some of them re- 
spect it. I have, however, avoided as much as possible 
to show too great an anxiety upon the subject, as I have 
been uniformly of opinion, that it would only tend to en- 
courage and inflame the violent party. One of the objects 
of the violent men (I speak from certain knowledge) is to 
cause a breach in the administration, and to separate the 
Fox from the Grenville part of it — they hope to force the 
Fox men out — and then they think (to use their own 
phrase) that ihey will soon have every thing their own way. 
This would indeed be a great evil, but I trust there is no 
danger of its befalling us. I am very sorry that I cannot 
recommend Wallace for a silk gown at present — for it 
really is not possible — it would offend the whole bar, as 
there are a great many men his superiors in standing* and 
business, who must be passed by; and what would make 
the resentment of the bar stronger than any other man's 
case, is, that unfortunately he is an unpopular man amongst 
his own profession — this to yourself. I am doing every 
thing I can for poor M'Can, and hope soon to get him 
settled to his satisfaction some how or other. I will write 
to you again soon. — Yours, always, 

g. ponsonby. 

The Lord Chancellor to Mr. Grattan. 

Ely Place, Wednesday, 5 o'clock, 1807. 
My dear Grattan, — Murphy has just left me. He 
* Lord Erskine was one of the few instances in which a barrister 
obtained a silk gown after five years' standing. 

chap, x.] mr. Wallace's case. 


came to say that he thought the only chance of prevent- 
ing the presentation of the petition was by pursuing the 
following course. 

To-morrow a letter is to be written (in fact by the com- 
mittee), signed by Lord Fingall to you, to ask your 
opinion as to the best time for presenting the petition, and 
he proposes that you should express your opinion strongly 
against the presenting it at all ; this he thinks will afford 
the best chance of stopping it — but he is not sure that it 
will stop it — and he desires that you will not mention his 
name to any person. 

I have now delivered his message, and cannot add any 
opinion of my own, for I have not lately seen any person 
upon whom I can rely, and have, indeed, rather avoided it, 
as I do not choose to show too much anxiety on the sub- 
ject. — Yours, always, 


Mr. Wallace has been alluded to already, and 
the following letters from the Secretary are here 
introduced in order to show that Mr. Grattan did 
not forget the services of any one who had exerted 
himself in the cause of his country. Mr. Grattan 
was accused of having neglected this individual, 
and of forgetting the efforts that he made against 
the Union, and a very severe but unjust letter was 
produced to the author in support of the charge. 

The very reverse was the truth ; and it will 
appear that Mr. Grattan took considerable pains 
on the occasion. But. Mr. Wallace, though a very 
able man, and with a well-earned reputation for 
his treatise on the trade and manufactures of the 
country,* as well as for his spirited and ready 
efforts to oppose a measure that was likely to 
prove so detrimental to Ireland, was of young 

* An Essay, published in 1798, on the Manufactures of Ireland, and 
those for which her natural advantages are best suited, and the means 
for improving her manufactures. The work was dedicated to Lord 
Moira, and was next to the prize essay for which a premium was offered 
by the Royal Irish Academy. It is replete with local information, and 
possesses sound and usefvil observations. The fortunate candidate was 
Mr. Preston. 

z 2 


standing at the bar, having been called to it only 
in 1798, and the jealousies, as well as the practice 
of the profession, stood in his way. 

Mr. Elliot to Mr. Grattan. 

• Dublin Castle, March 10th, 1807. 

My dear Sir,— The appointment to the office of king's 
counsel is never made but with the recommendation of the 
Chancellor. When you first suggested to me your wishes 
for the promotion of Mr. Wallace I mentioned the subject 
to the Chancellor, who stated that Mr. Wallace was junior 
to several gentlemen at the bar, whose extent of practice 
gave them a preferable claim to precedence. Since I re- 
ceived your letter of the 5th January (which reached me 
yesterday), I have, by the Lord Lieutenant's particular in- 
structions, had another conversation with the Chancellor 
upon this topic; but he perseveres in his opinion that the 
arrangement could not be made without creating great 
discontent in the profession, and he apprises me that he 
has, within these last two or three days, written to you a 
full explanation of the grounds of his objection. 

You will, I am persuaded, do both the Duke and me 
the justice to believe that we feel the most sincere regret 
that there should be such insurmountable obstacles to the 
accomplishment of an object about which you express so 
much interest. — With the truest regard and esteem, I re- 
main always, my dear Sir, most faithfully yours, 

W. Elliot. 

Mr. Elliot to Mr. Grattan. 

Dublin Castle, March 14th, 1807. 

My dear Sir,— As the Lord Lieutenant has seen the 
Chancellor, and answered your letter to me of the 7th 
instant, I have nothing to add on that subject except to 
express my most sincere regret that there should be such 
insuperable obstacles in the way of an arrangement about 
which you take so deep an interest. 

When I last wrote to you I omitted to mention that Mr. 
John Latouche had intimated an earnest wish that Mr. 
Riddall # might be one of the sheriffs for the city of Dub- 

* A very worthy and public spirited citizen and a man of liberal 
principles (a dangerous virtue under the dynasty that ruled). lie 


lin, and you will oblige me by apprising me of your views 
and sentiments on this point. — Ever, with the truest regard 
and esteem, my clear Sir, most faithfully yours, 

Wm. Elliot. 

The new Parliament met in December, 180G. 
Lord Lauderdale returned from Paris on the 
failure of the negotiations for peace with France, 
after Mr. Fox's death. The papers relating to 
this subject were laid before Parliament, from 
which appeared the great attention and anxiety 
that Mr. Fox had shown in the proceedings ; and 
it is more than probable that, if he had lived, he 
would have been able to conclude a peace satis- 
factory and honourable to Great Britain.* The 
King had sent for Lord Grenville after Mr. Fox's 
death, and continued the party in power, Lord 
Howick taking the place of Secretary for Foreign 
Affairs. Both these individuals were too cold 
and too haughty for the times and the people. 
Lord Grenville was an able statesman, — a. grave 
and weighty speaker, and a great debater, — his 
voice was not pleasing, nor his manner engaging; 
but he was a powerful rhetorician, and the master 
of politics. He was not, however, a very practi- 
cable man, and did not sufficiently bend to the 

called a meeting, as sheriff, in 1810, on a requisition of the freemen and 
freeholders of Dublin, to petition Parliament for a repeal of the Union. 
The other sheriff (Stanley) had refused. A piece of plate was voted to 
Mr. Uiddall (afterwards Sir James) as a mark of respect and gratitude 
from his fellow-citizens ; "for his integrity, which would not yield to 
influence or menace in the discharge of his public duty." From the 
words of the resolution, it would seem that the Irish did not expect a 
public officer to do his duty, if the Government did not like it, and this 
even in the case of a sheriff', who, by the statute of Henry, was their 
officer formerly — elected by them and not by the Government. They 
judged right — for this worthy man was ever after an object disliked by the 
authorities, because lie had acted for the people in discharging his duty 
according to his oath. 

* Talleyrand, in a despatch of the month of April, writes to Fox, 
" Your communication has a character of openness and precision which 
we have hitherto never seen in the communications between your court 
and us." 


ways or the manners of others. He was too re- 
served, and too much of a recluse, and he loved 
to retire to a barren country spot, where he could 
cultivate nothing but an ignorance of mankind. 

Lord Howick (Grey) was a different character. 
He was a man of high talent, very learned, of great 
integrity, and first-rate ability ; he possessed a 
lofty spirit and a princely port of mind. His 
principles were excellent, and his eloquence great ; 
his speaking, if not of the highest order, was pure 
in style, and his language was superior. His 
address was graceful ; his figure imposing and 
dignified. A handsome person aided in exhibiting 
him as a perfect gentleman.* But aristocracy 
and nobility were engrafted in his essence. He 
wanted manner and temper to carry a point, or 
keep together a party, and never would have been 
a great favourite, either with the King or the 
people ; the one would have looked upon him a§ 
a rival, and the other as a master, and neither 
would have greatly liked him as a minister ; so 
that he never could have enjoyed very long either 
power or popularity. As a philosopher, he showed 
want of judgment; as a statesman, he showed 
want of prudence. On the question (in 1815) of 
peace with Buonaparte, he went too far; and in 
his Reform Bill (in 1832) he did not go far 
enough ; and in both cases feared to use the 
weapons that the country and the constitution 
had furnished him. 

He seemed to be the inheritor of Fox's errors 
and imprudence. Instead of remaining quiet 
when he came into power — knowing full well 
that the King would turn him out on the first 
opportunity — he brought forward a measure which 
in its nature was partial, and which would have 

* See Life of Lord Eldon, vol. ii. The King's remarks on this. 



procured little thanks from the Catholics,* and was 
certain to bring against them all the cunning and 
enmity of the King. The bill merely granted to 
English Catholics certain military privileges en- 
joyed by the Irish. It was of little consequence 
in itself; but its principle was exactly what the 
King disliked. He accordingly objected, and the 
measure was abandoned ; and on that the party 
were turned out. Thus they lost office on 
account of a measure which in itself was nothing, 
and wiiich nothing they gave up. In this Lord 
Grey followed the dictates of his own understand- 
ing, which was very defective ; and the Whigs 
showed they were men of talent and integrity, but 
not of commanding ability. The proceeding was 
a most unfortunate one for the country, and proved 
a death-blow to the Whig interest. 

On the 5th of March Lord Howick moved for 
leave to bring in a bill to open offices in the army 
and navy to all his Majesty's subjects. The Irish 
act of 1793 allowed Catholics to hold commissions 
in the army, and the object of the measure was to 
communicate to the English the same privileges. 
The bill was opposed by Mr. Perceval, and the 
second reading fixed for that day week. Mean- 
time the anti-Catholic party were excited, and 
the King was applied to. He had known the na- 
ture of the measure, and expressed no disapproba- 
tion of it ; but the Dukes of York and Cum- 
berland, Lord Eldon, Lord Hawkesbury, and 
Lord Sidmouth having had interviews with him, 
he sent for Lord Grenville and Lord Grey, and 
asserted that there existed a misunderstanding on 
the subject, and required of them to abandon the 
bill. They complied. He then required a written 
pledge that they would not recommend any further 
concessions to the Catholics. Very properly they 

* See Mr. Keogh's speech at the Catholic meeting, 18th April, 1807. 



[CHAP. X. 

refused to comply, and were dismissed accordingly. 
Lord Grey and Lord Grenville stated in their 
places in Parliament the history of the transac- 
tion, from which it appeared that the old system 
of duplicity and intrigue, practised in the time of 
Lord Fitzwilliam by Mr. Pitt, had been now 
practised by the King and his friends on Lord 
Grey and Lord Grenville, and a most daring and 
unconstitutional attempt there made was frustrated 
only by the stern virtue of the Ministers. 

Mr. Grattan's opinion was expressed in his 
letter to the Duke of Bedford ; but it is to be 
observed, that he was not consulted on the expe- 
diency of bringing in the bill. If he had been, he 
most unquestionably would have been opposed to 
such a step. He had just a week before assisted 
in getting out of the way of the Ministry that which 
would have proved a certain stumbling-block (the 
Catholic petition). He knew the character of the 
King; he had learned it in 1795. He put the 
Catholics on their guard against him, and he saved 
them ; but Lord Grey precipitated the Whig 
party, and by his imprudent move he sunk them 
for ever. 

Mr. Grattan to the Duke of Bedford. 

London, March 16th, 1807. 

My Lord, — In consequence of a conversation with Lord 
Howick regarding the Catholic Military Bill, I beg to 
trouble your Grace with a few lines. The question was, 
whether the Ministry should give up the substance of the 
bill or their situations.* And when it was suggested to 
me by his Lordship how far Ireland was concerned, I gave 
it as my opinion, the breaking up of the present Ministry 
would be to Ireland a mischief not to be repaired ; whether 
we consider who the Ministry were who went out, or who 

* Alluding to this, Lord Castlereagh, in the debate of the 25th May, 
1808, on the Roman Catholic petition, said, in a language peculiar to 
himself, that " the Whigs hud put the bantling in their pockets." 



those were who should succeed them. That the point was 
too small, and the sacrifice too great. That a change in 
the Irish administration would have such an effect upon 
Ireland, at this moment, on the feelings as well as the 
interest of the country, as to threaten ultimately with the 
most painful consequences, the British empire. And though 
it might be awkward to recede, yet in such a dilemma 
the mischief on one side was more to be considered than 
personal feelings on the other. It occurred that your 
Grace's difficulties might be considerable, but that, how- 
ever painful it must be to all the members of the Ministry, 
particularly to Lord Ho wick, who stood more advanced in 
the business, yet that it were more prudent and more con- 
scientious to submit to a temporary mortification, than to 
incur the solid and lasting evil that must ensue if your 
Grace were at this time to quit the government of Ireland. 
In this persuasion I answered Lord Howick, giving that 
opinion which I beg to repeat now to your Grace, with an 
account of the conversation. — I have the honour to be, your 
Grace's very obedient humble servant, 

He>hy Grattan. 

On the 18th of April the Roman Catholics 
assembled in Dublin to consider the steps that 
should be taken in reference to their claims. 
Lord Fingall acted as chairman. This individual, 
the head of one of the oldest Catholic families, 
was beloved and respected by all who knew him 
or who marked his progress. He was firmly- 
attached to his country, to her rights, and to his 
religion, and was not to be shaken or seduced 
from her service. In times of need he stood 
fearlessly by her ; he was a safe adviser, — mild 
but resolute, — and he proved an excellent medi- 
ator between a justly offended people and a viru- 
lent exasperating Government. He tempered the 
feelings of both, without yielding to either, and 
held with dignity the course which he thought 
would prove most conducive to the interests of 
his country. He had applied to Mr. Grattan, 



and received from him the letters which were read 
to the meeting. 

Me. Grattan to Lord Fingall. 

London, March 21st, 1807. 

My Lord, — I had the honour of receiving your Lord- 
ship's letter of the 14th of this month, informing me that 
the Catholics had determined to lay their case this session 
before Parliament, and had selected me for that purpose. 

Your Lordship's letter was accompanied by a copy of 
the Catholic petition, and requested to have my advice 
regarding the proper period for presenting the same, so 
that it might be considered before the end of the session. 

I beg to return my thanks to the Catholics for the 
honour they have done me, and the confidence they have 
placed in me; but I should be unworthy of both if I did 
not add, that considering their subject in every point of 
view, and with reference to their own particular interest, 
I am of opinion that a motion in Parliament on the 
Catholic petition would now be injurious to the Catholics. 

The probable or actual change of Ministry does not 
alter that opinion, but tends to confirm it; but as it will 
be highly proper, if not absolutely necessary, that there 
should be some communication with the friends of the 
Catholics here, who supported them in Parliament, and 
who have given testimonies of their sincerity, I will en- 
deavour to obtain a meeting of such as soon as possible, in 
order that, before their measures shall be brought forward, 
the Catholics may know the sentiments of their friends; 
which I will transmit with my best regards. — I have the 
honour to be, with great esteem and regard, your Lord- 
ship's most faithful humble servant, 

Henry Grattan. 
Same to Same. 

London, March, 1807. 

My Lord, — I beg your Lordship will return my sincere 
thanks to the committee for the kindness they were so 
good as to express in your Lordship's letter. 

I endeavoured to collect as many persons as I could, of 
those who wish well to the claims of the Catholics and are 

CHAP. X.] 



their decided friends. They met yesterday, and their 
opinion they authorized me to communicate to your Lord- 
ship, which is as follows : — " That they continue to be of 
opinion that the prosecution of the Catholic petition at 
this time would not be an advisable measure." 

I gave your Lordship my own opinion in a former letter, 
which was the same as the above; and I beo- to conclude 
by expressing my unalterable regard for the Catholic body 
and my high respect for your Lordship, and for those 
qualities of prudence and moderation for which you are so 
justly distinguished. — I have the honour to be, your Lord- 
ship's very obedient humble servant, 

Henry Grattan. 

A long debate arose on the Catholic meeting 
and the change of ministry ; and the measure that 
led to it, formed, naturally, the subject of con- 
sideration. Mr. Keo°h, the Nestor of the Catholic 
cause, took the lead. He attached little value to 
the military bill — to Ireland it would have been 
of very little service — but the conduct of the min- 
isters in refusing to sign a most unconstitutional 
pledge, such as was required by the King, in 
direct contradiction to the tenor of their oaths, 
received from him a great and eloquent tribute of 
admiration, to which the entire assembly re- 
sponded with loud and continued applause. Mr. 
Keogh concluded by moving that the petition 
should be entrusted to the care of Lord Fin gal), 
subject to its future disposal by the Catholic 
body. Mr. O'Connell, on this occasion, made a 
very judicious speech in support of this proposi- 
tion, and deprecated any division among their 
body. After much discussion, the question was 
carried, and this special mark of confidence was 
reposed in Lord Fingall, who considered it most 
advisable to follow the opinions of their friends in 
Parliament, and not to urge their claims during this 
Session. A resolution, expressing the gratitude 
of the Catholics to the Duke of Bedford, for his 


duke of Bedford's reply, [chap. x. 

mild and dignified conduct, and the deep regret 
they felt at his departure, was unanimously- 
adopted, to which his Grace replied as follows. 

Duke of Bedford's Answer to the Catholics. 

21st April, 1807. 

The Resolutions which your Lordship has been pleased 
to convey to me, as the sense of that great and loyal body, 
the Roman Catholics of Ireland, claims my warmest ac- 
knowledgments. In the discharge of the arduous trust 
committed to my hands by his Majesty, it has been my 
constant and earnest endeavour to promote the interests 
and prosperity of this part of the United Kingdom, and in 
now relinquishing that trust, in obedience to his Majesty's 
commands, I retire to the less anxious cares of private life, 
cheered by a conscious feeling within me, that to the best 
of my imperfect judgment and abilities, I have done my 
duty to my sovereign and my country. In whatever station 
I may hereafter be placed, be assured, my Lord, that I shall 
never cease to entertain the most fervent wishes for the 
happiness of every class and description of my fellow- 
subjects in this part of the British empire. 


At this period, Mr. Preston, who had been ap- 
pointed one of the Commissioners of Appeals, 
died,* and thus a vacancy was occasioned, which, 
by good fortune, was got by Lady Granard for Mr. 
Hardy; the salary was only 500/. a-year, and the 
expenses attending it, which were of necessity in- 
creased by Hardy's residence in the country, 
amounted to near two, so his reward was but small. 

* His death has been attributed to Mr. Henry Deane Grady. Pres- 
ton had got wet in coming to court, and neglected to change his clothes. 
Mr. Grady, in pleading before him, spoke for five hours, and was 
obliged, as he said, to conclude because " his legs were tired. 11 It con- 
cluded poor Preston's life, who got ill in consequence and never re- 
covered. This Mr. Grady was the person who voted for the Union, and 
who was rewarded by an office that produced, not like Hardy's a few 
hundreds, but several thousand pounds a year. In this handsome man- 
ner did the British undertakers in Ireland) aid the corruption of the 
times, and carry their Union, 



Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, March 28th, 1807. 

My dear M'Can, — Do not let Hardy want money to 
pay his patent, if he has not gotten it already. James will 
get it for him out of my rents. 

You see all is over — I am sorry for it — but I think the 
present ministry cannot continue. I am vexed about your 
situation, but it cannot be helped — things may mend here- 
after. The business about Wallace has also vexed me. I 
am called to dinner, but will write on Monday. — Yours, 

H. G. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick. 

London, April 18th, 1807. 

My dear Doctor, — The mortality of human affairs you 
preach — and your friends experience. I am sorry on many 
accounts, the country and my friends. 

However, I am comforted that Hardy has gotten into 
post, though not heavy laden. Poor Preston, whom he 
succeeded, gave me affliction in his death, as he has given 
me many pleasant days in his life. H^ was well read, and 
had considerable political talents; he loved liberty, though 
an Acadmie, and in the predicament of poverty, retained 
the spirit of independence. He did, however, latterly be- 
tray an ardour for office, and a spleen at disappointment, 
which was unworthy of him. The Curate, whom you 
mention, I am certain would discharge the business of 
agency well, but the brother of the late agent, I believe we 
must not appoint. Remember me to Mrs. Berwick. I 
should be glad if I were to dine with you to-morrow at 
Esker, to walk in your garden, and talk with Mathew, # if 
he is there. I hope you will get something under the 
present ministry, more than you did under the last, even 
with the assistance of Warburton. The Archbishop seems 
to have acted at the Sheriff's feast a decorous and a liberal 

* The old gardener at Esker. 

"j" These city feasts were long a disgrace to civilization, though pa- 
tronized by British lord lieutenants and secretaries, who celebrated 
its orgies. Party tunes were played, insulting toasts were given, 
and bigotted sentiments had utterance and approbation from the re- 
tainers of an alien Government, who not only were permitted to rob and 
to revile the people, but who were rewarded for their sedition. It took 
years to abolish these public nuisances, but not till their corporate 
revenues were squandered and lost, and the glorious body became bank- 



[CHAP. X. 

What do you think of the Duke of Cumberland's letter* 
to the University? What can you think of it? Do not 
say if you look to advancement. Remember me to all 
friends, and believe me, — Yours, 

H. Grattan. 

The Whigs having been thus unceremoniously 
and unconstitutionally ejected by his Majesty, 
the No-Popery party got the ascendant,f and Mr. 
Perceval, who took the lead on the occasion, ar- 
ranged the administration as follows. Though 
some of the principal members were appointed on 
the 25th of March, the arrangements were not 
completed till the 14th of April. * 

New Administration, 25th March, 1807, commonly called the NTo- 
Popery Administration. 

President of the Council, Earl Camden. 
Lord High Chancellor, Lord Eldon. 

rupt. Mr. Grattan's remark is ironical, for when the Archbishop of 
Dublin (Agar's) health was drunk, his Grace said, " I return my cordial 
thanks to Sheriff Manders and the company for the honour they have 
done me. I take this opportunity of congratulating my fellow-citizens 
on the recent triumph of the constitution in Church and State." This was 
followed by a rapturous burst of applause from the whole company, 
which continued at least fifteen minutes. — (Extract from the Journal of 
the day.) 

* He had attempted to rouse the anti-Catholic feeling, and to get up 
petitions in favour of the No-Popery cry. Mr. Plunker, in the ensuing 
session, commented most severely on his conduct ; in fact, where morals 
or propriety were respected, no such character as the Duke of Cumber- 
land should have been tolerated. 

f Lord Hardwicke had a private audience of the King ; having been 
five years in Ireland as Lord Lieutenant, he was well able to judge 
what was likely to be the effects of such a change ; he ventured to re- 
monstrate with the King, and submitted to him the expediency, after the 
military bill had been abandoned, of continuing the Whig ministers, and 
frankly told him that the proposed change wculd certainly alienate the 
Irish from England, and that the cry of the church being in danger, would 
create most injurious divisions among the people. His Majesty listened 
with great politeness, but observed that the intentions of the persons 
who had advised him were good — fatal advice ; in a few years afterwards 
the discord and agitation occasioned by this subject, drove the King dis- 
tracted, and deprived him of his reason for ever. An allusion of Mr. 
Pitt in one of his speeches, makes it more than probable that he foresaw 
this very clanger, but he guarded against it in a very different way from 
that which Mr. Perceval had the imprudence to resort to. 



Lord Privy Seal, Earl of Westmoreland. 

First Lord" of the Treasury, Duke of Portland. 

First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Mulgrave. 

Master General of the Ordnance, Earl of Chatham. 

Secretary of State for the Home Department, Lord Hawkesbury (since 

Earl of Liverpool). 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. George Canning. 
Secretary of State for the Department of War and the Colonies, Lord 

Viscount Castlereagh. 
Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, Lord Ellenborough. 
Chancellor and Under Treasurer of the Exchequer, Spencer Perceval. 
President of the Board of Control for the Affairs of India, Right Hon. 

Robert Saunders Dundas. 
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Right Hon. Spencer Perceval. 
President of the Board of Trade, Earl Bathurst. 
Secretary at War, Sir James Pulteney. 
Treasurer of the Navy, Mr. George Rose. 

Joint Paymasters-General, Lord Charles Somerset, Right Hon. Charles 

Joint Postmasters-General, Earl of Chichester, Earl of Sandwich. 
Secretaries of the Treasury, W. Huskisson, Esq., Hon. Henry Wel- 

Master of the Rolls, Sir William Grant. 
Attorney-General, Sir Vicary Gibbs. 
Solicitor-General, Sir Thomas Plomer. 


Lord Lieutenant, Duke of Richmond. 
Lord High Chancellor, Lord Manners. 

Chief Secretary, Sir Arthur Wellesley (afterwards Duke of Wellington). 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Right Hon. John Foster. 
Attorney-General, Mr. William Saurin. 
Solicitor-General, Mr. Charles Kendal Bushe. 

This administration collected in itself all the 
servility and bigotry of the age, and his Majesty 
knew them so well, that he did not find it neces- 
sary to administer to them the pledge which their 
predecessors had refused, or tell them that upon 
that test depended their tenure of office; in fact, 
in every sense of the word, they were his servants,' 
and there is not to be found, in the catalogue of 
British Governments, a body of men so slavish 
and so tyrannical. They were the relics of the 
Irish and English parties who had so signally 
failed both abroad and at home, and had brought 
the Empire to the brink of ruin. They had talent 
without principle —theology without charity — am- 
bition without strength or honesty, and the lust of 
power without grandeur or generosity. They were 



possessed of a rhetoric just sufficient to keep them 
clear of common sense, and with minds too heavy 
to be perfect orators, or too frivolous to be able 
politicians — pliant to the king, oppressive to the 
people — at the feet of the one, and treading' upon 
the other. Among them appeared some of the 
old Irish Court, who had nurtured religious dis- 
cord and civic strife, till they grew with rapid 
and fatal training — destructive to Ireland and de- 
trimental to the connection — Lord Westmoreland, 
who had fostered the Orangemen ; Lord Camden, 
who had recruited the United Irishmen ; Lord 
Castlereagh, who had hanged some, tortured 
others, transported numbers, and sold all. There 
was the Duke of Portland too, metamorphosed 
from 1782 into the deceiver of Lord Fitzwilliam 
in 1795, and the supporter of No-Popery in 1807; 
and last, not least, Lord Eldon, the " Buttress of 
the Church," because he seldom entered one, the 
Capital of the State, because he weighed upon it, 
the Judge of quarter of a century in arrear, except 
when deciding against Ireland. Among them was 
to be found a different character — a man of great 
ambition and surprising talent — a strong, able, 
and brilliant speaker; he adorned his eloquence 
with a fine taste and beautiful imagery ; possessed 
great powers of sarcasm, and could be at once 
very humorous and very severe, and turn his ad- 
versary into ridicule* with a success unequalled. 
'But, unfortunately, George Canning wanted sim- 
plicity of mind, elevation of principle, and recti- 
tude of character,^ and there was a propensity to 
compromise in what he said, that deprived his fine 
qualities of half their merit; yet he injured him- 
self, not by his ambition, but by the impatience 
of his ambition — he was wrong to trifle with the 

* His reply to Sir John Cox Hippesly could never be forgotten, 
f Speech in 1812, and negotiations with Lords Moira and Welles- 
ley, &c. 


sufferings of the people.* Other men could wait 
and calculate, but Canning would not stop for that, 
he acted so precipitously, and scattered his shot 
around on all sides, so that his party were never cer- 
tain that they would not be disbanded at a moment's 
warning. Want of candour led him into an unseemly 
conflict with his colleague, Lord Castlereagh,t of 
which the latter quickly availed himself to raise a 
character sunk below the ordinary level. Having 
thus given an advantage to a rival, to whom he 
stood as superior in talent as in feeling, he took 
office under his administration, and sunk his fame, 
as a statesman, in the quality of ambassador 
to the Court of Lisbon, and thus revoked the 
sentence he had passed upon him of declared in- 
capacity. He made a motion, at one period, in 
favour of the Catholics,;]: though he was not very 
friendly to Ireland, for in his mind she was 
rather an object of apprehension than affection. 
On the whole, he would have been a greater 
character, if he had not been trained up by Mr. 
Pitt, if he had not associated with Mr. Perceval, 
and if he had kept clear of Lord Castlereagh. 

The leader of the No-Popery administration 
was Mr. Spencer Perceval; he formed and, in him- 
self, composed the administration. He was a 
smart barrister and a gentleman; an active indivi- 
dual, and skilful in his profession. He had been 
Attorney-General in 1802, Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer in 1807, to which he united the office of 
First Lord of the Treasury in 1809. He was a 
sharp, clever, bitter, little personage ; fluent and 
argumentative ; a fair stater of his adversary's ar- 
gument, and very satirical. He was abroad in all 

* 1818, "The ruptured Ogderi,'' "ignorant impatience of taxation;" 
"a transition from war to peace;" were among the phrases of Mr. Can- 
ning and Lord Castlereagh, that the people of England never forgot. 

t 1800, on the unsuccessful expedition to Walcheren. 

\ June 12th, 1812. 
VOL. V. A A 


weathers, generally spoke pretty well, never very 
ill ; made little points, and turned them cleverly. 
He was a good man in private, but of a narrow 
and contracted mind ; it was that of a nisi prius 
lawyer, not a statesman. He viewed everything 
with the eye of an attorney, and seemed to think 
all matters should be a source of strife, and that 
the world was a court for litigation, not a haven 
for repose, or even a school of probation. He was 
active on his little perch, and squirrel-like played 
his tricks well and dexterously ; but when he 
assumed the reins of power he lost himself, and 
showed that he was not only not a statesman, but 
that he was quite unfit to govern ; he forgot that 
it was necessary to divest himself of his narrow 
ideas and his pitiful projects, and that he could 
not govern an empire as a clerk would a parish. 
His principles were prerogative in the State, and 
intolerance in the Church. He stooped before 
royal authority, and yielded to the Prince Regent ; 
encouraged him in his fancies and extravagance; 
gratified him in laying out parks and building- 
barracks ; flattered him in his vices ; indulged him 
in his expenses, winked at his connection with 
Hertford House ; and adhered to two rules : first, 
to sacrifice the country to the Sovereign ; and, 
secondly, to sacrifice it to the Church. He 
was a bigot, and no bigot should be minister of a 
mixed empire like Great Britain. He occasioned 
a war with America, and, if he had lived, he would 
have occasioned an insurrection in Ireland, for he 
carefully observed one principle — that of intoler- 
ance. He was a mischievous public man, con- 
tracted and puritanical — good as to morals, but 
as to the State ruinous ; almost the very worst 
minister that any king could possibly select ; he 
united the prejudices of the lawyer to those of the 
churchman, and possessed the narrowness of both 


professions ; in fact, his religion was a nuisance to 
his country. His opposition to Reform did not 
occasion his death ; his assassination was horrible, 
but accidental;* for he was good enough to have 
many private friends, and not great enough to have 
violent public enemies. f 

A few days only were suffered to elapse before 
the Parliament, chosen under the auspices of the 
Whigs, was put upon its trial. There were three 
different points before them : the Catholics, Ire- 
land, and the Constitution, and in all three they 
decided for the Crown, against the Whigs, and in 
favour of No Popery. On the 9ti\ of April, Mr. 
Brand moved, that it was contrary to the first 
duties of the confidential servants of the Crown, 
to restrain themselves by any pledge expressed or 
implied, from offering to the King any advice 
which the course of circumstances might render 
necessary, for the welfare and security of any part 
of his Majesty's extensive empire. On a division, 
the numbers for the order of the day were 258, 
against it 226 — thus the new ministers got a ma- 
jority of 32. On this occasion, Mr. (afterwards 
Lord) Plunket made a most able speech, severely 
commenting on the conduct of the Duke of Cum- 
berland, chancellor of Dublin University, in dis- 
turbing the peace of that body by repeated appli- 
cations to procure from them a petition against the 
Catholics. In reply to Mr. Perceval, a very im- 
pressive speech w r as made by Mr. Grattan, and 
a mcst effective one by Sir Samuel Romilly. The 

* He was shot in the lobby of the House of Commons on the 1 1th of 
May, 1812, by John Bellingham, a lunatic. 

f He refused to permit Peruvian bark to be imported into France or 
her possessions, and brought in the bill for that purpose, but his coun- 
trymen paid dearly for this uncharitable restriction, for when the ill- 
fated expedition to Walcheren took place, thousands of the troops fell 
victims to fever and ague, for which bark was the only effectual remedy. 
The foreign physicians reproached the British with the cruelty of their 

A A 2 


minister, however, denied that the King had any 
adviser as to the pledge required. 

The Commons were again tried but as ineffec- 
tually, on the 1 3th April, when Mr. Lyttleton moved 
" That the House, considering a firm and vigilant 
administration indispensable in the present posture 
of public affairs, has seen, with the greatest re- 
gret, the late change in his Majesty's councils."* 

After a long and animated debate, at seven 
o'clock in the morning, the numbers proved to be, 
for the previous question 244, against it 198, ma- 
jority for Mr. Perceval's administration 46. In 
the debate, the allusions made to Ireland were 
frequent. Mr. Tighe observed, that the people of 
Ireland had been accustomed to view with cold de- 
termined apathy all changes in the administration 
here, as none of those changes were attended with 
benefit to them. Since the Union, Ireland had 
felt no community of rights— -no community of 
commerce — the only community it felt was that of 
having one hundred assessors in the British Par- 
liament, who were to give ineffectual votes for the 
interest of their country as he might do that night. 

Sir John Newport, in alluding to the conduct of 
the Whigs, said, they had appointed a commission 
to inquire into the application of the funds vested in 
Ireland for the purposes of public education. 
These funds, Lord Castlereagh, then at the head 
of the Irish Government, but now a member of 

* In the Lords, a motion nearly similar was made by the Marquis fof 
Stafford, on which Lord Boringdon moved an adjournment which was 
carried by 171 to 90, giving the minister a majority of 81. The late 
ministers having been reproached with abandoning the military bill, 
Lord Grenville alluded to Lord Castlereagh, who had imported that 
question from Ireland, to carry which he stood pledged to that country, 
and therefore he referred his opponents to him, as more conversant in 
solving difficulties that arise from tergiversation. The conduct of Mr. 
Perceval was greatly reprobated, particularly his address to his con- 
stituents of Northampton, where he stated, that he was making a stand 
for his Sovereign, and a stand for the Protestant religion, and calling 
upon the people to second him with their exertions. 



the Cabinet, had suffered to remain shamefully 
appropriated to individual interest and corrupt pur- 
poses, though the report of a committee had im- 
periously called on him to reform them. To his 
knowledge they had been misapplied for a length 
of time, and for mere private benefit. 

On the 27th of April the Parliament was pro- 
rogued, and immediately dissolved. In the speech 
of the Commissioners, the King was made to state, 
that he resorted to this measure while the events 
that had recently taken place were fresh in the recol- 
lection of the people ; and that the Roman Catholics 
must feel assured of his attachment to the principles 
of a just and enlightened toleration. How this could 
be reconciled to the cry of " No-Popery," which 
his Ministers set up, is not easy to be understood; 
it seemed to be a species of mockery, and rather 
to add insult to injury ; but it was quite in unison 
with the conduct of the Tory party throughout 
their long dominion, in the course of which they 
fully exemplified the truth of the maxim " odisse 
quern Icesisse" The object which the Ministers 
had in view proved successful. By means of their 
inflammatory appeal, they increased their majority 
In the House of Commons far beyond their calcu- 
lation. The " No-Popery " cry resounded through- 
out England; and though, as Mr. Grattan ob- 
served, the Irish did not write on their walls " No- 
England" in reply to " No-Popery," yet Ireland 
felt deeply the insult, though she bore with mag- 
nanimity the infliction. The most unconstitutional 
proceedings took place at the elections, and acts 
of a most violent and illegal nature ; the King's 
name was prostituted on all sides, and to vote 
against the "No-Popery" candidate was tanta- 
mount to voting against the King. By such 
flagitious acts as these they swelled their numbers 
so much, that when Parliament met, on the 22nd 
of June, an amendment proposed by Lord Howick 


to condemn the dissolution of the Parliament, was 
defeated by a majority of 195, — 350 voting for 
the address, and 155 against it. The career of 
the party shortly after commenced. They re- 
stored Mr. GifFard (a violent Orange corporator* 
of Dublin) to his office, with full salary from the 
period of his dismissal by Lord Hardwicke ; they 
diminished the vote to the Catholic College of 
Maynooth from 13,000/. a year, which had been 
granted by the Whigs, to 9,000/. ; and they ap- 
pointed Dr. Duigenan to the office of Privy Coun- 
cillor. They sent the Duke of Richmond to Ire- 
land as Lord-Lieutenant, who quickly fell into the 
track, and mixed in the revels of the Corporation 
politics. They sent Lord Manners as Chancel- 
lor, who was equally prejudiced as a statesman, 
and deficient as a judge, and was, at the same 
time, weak and violent. Together, they formed a 
heedless and a blind administration ; they did 
things they should not have done, and tolerated 
things they should not have permitted, and 
brought the country to the verge of insurrection. 

The measures that caused some division among 
the opposition were the Insurrection and the Arms 
Acts. They had been prepared by the late, and 
were found in the office by the new Ministers, 
and, on the 9th of July, Sir Arthur Wellesley 
(Duke of Wellington), the Secretary for Ireland, 
moved for leave to bring them in. The former of 
these measures had been passed by the Irish 
Parliament in 1796, for one year, afterwards for 
two, and at the Union for seven. It came now 
to be renewed ; and a clause directing that per- 
sons arrested under it should be tried at quarter 

* Murders and outrages of the most violent description took place in 
several parts of Ireland where religious feuds had been excited, and the 
impunity which followed them reflected the greatest disgrace on the 
administrators of the law and the government of the country ; in many 
cases they led to frightful, though distant, retaliation — one of the melan- 
choly results of civil and religious discord. 


sessions, before the assistant barrister and the 
bench of magistrates, with the assistance of a 
sergeant-at-law specially sent for the occasion, 
had been introduced by the Whig Ministers, they 
had also given the sergeant a negative voice, 
which the Tories took away ; and with this 
alteration the measure was proposed. 

Mr. Grattan probably thought that the mere 
circumstance of a strong act being enforced by a 
Tory instead of a Whig Government, was not of 
itself a sufficient reason to make him refuse his 
assent to a measure of his own party. He had 
been informed by Mr. Ponsonby (as already 
stated) that French sentiments were prevalent in 
some men's minds in Ireland, and by Mr. Elliot 
(the late Secretary) that nightly and dangerous 
meetings also were held in various parts of the 
country ; accordingly he supported the principle 
of the bill, but objected to some of its details, and 
in particular to the term of its duration. He 
might also have conceived that the Catholic 
question (of which, in all his political movements, 
he never lost sight) would derive benefit by his 
showing that he could not be induced, through 
party motives or popular outcry, to abandon a 
measure that he considered necessary for the 
country, however much that measure may have 
trenched upon the constitution. He certainly 
raised his character among the English for stoical 
firmness and independence of mind and principle. 

All this, however, was not sufficient to prevent 
the outcry which was raised against him in Ire- 
land, and with which he was assailed in a variety of 
publications ; but his opinion remained unshaken, 
as appears from the remarks in the letters that 

The subject was again brought before Parlia- 
ment at the close of the session, when Mr. Sheri- 

360 mr 4 sheridan's motion on [chap, x. 

dan, in a very able and eloquent speech, made a 
motion on the state of Ireland, pledging the House 
to take it into consideration in the ensuing year, 
with a view to render unnecessary the continuance 
of the two bills they had passed. Mr. Grattan 
here defended the course he had taken in reference 
to them, — that he did not speak against Ireland, 
but that he advocated the cause of Ireland against 
France. He submitted the case of Ireland in 
three points of view, — education, agriculture, and 

On the first he observed, that a commission 
had been issued. It appeared that, by royal 
donation, 8,000 acres of land had been granted for 
grammar-schools ; they produced 5,000/. a year, 
and, if fairly let, should bring a great deal 
more. The number of scholars were but 300, of 
which 58 only were free scholars. One school, 
whose fund was but 100/. per annum, educated 
40 ; while others, whose funds were 5,000/., edu- 
cated only 18 ! 

This statement proved that the plan had failed. 
Two or more large schools should therefore be 
established, and there should be a principal school 
in every parish. By the 12th of Elizabeth, every 
diocese should maintain a school ; so there should 
be 34 free grammar-schools, besides those of royal 
foundation, and there were considerable funds also 
from individuals to support the grammar-schools. 

By the 28th of Henry VIII., the clergy were 
obliged to provide each parish with an English 
school. In 1788, it appeared that in less than 
400 of these schools, ] 1,000 children were edu- 
cated ; he contended that they should educate the 
poor as well as the rich, and that, if the present 
laws were properly enforced, education would be 
provided for the people of Ireland. 

The second point was agriculture, — this would 



be improved by the removal of tithes ; the late 
disturbances in Ireland arose from them — the 
Right Boy, the White Boy, the Hearts of Steel- 
insurrection arose from tithes. The three plans 
suggested, were substitution by land, by modus, 
and by salary ; the first was slow and difficult, the 
second was less embarrassing and was a recog- 
nised idea, the third appeared to be the best ; a 
commission should be appointed to ascertain the 
receipts of each living, and the clergy should be 
secured against the depreciation of money by a 
periodical valuation of the produce of land, and 
the sum ascertained should be paid like county 

The third point was religion, and here he said 
the success of the Catholic claims would be se- 
cured by themselves ; the course of the Catholics, 
or a great proportion of her inhabitants, was such 
as might decide the fate of the empire, and the 
part they took on this occasion might decide their 
own ; and she would find credit and security in 
the suppression of every kind of insurrection, in 
the determination to resist a foreign yoke, and in 
the oblivion, most absolute and unfeigned, of all 
animosities on account of religion. If she looks 
for examples she may find them in other nations, 
she may rind them in her own. As she felt in 
1779, when she recovered her trade — as she felt 
in 1782, when she recovered her constitution — she 
may find at once credit and security. But the 
door of the temple was shut, and the Catholic was 
excluded — Government had no right to enter into 
the sanctuary of the human mind and decide be- 
tween man and his Redeemer ; and England 
should not allow any narrow policy to prevent her 
making the Irish Protestants a people, by making 
the Irish Catholics freemen. 

The minister did not take Mr. Grattan's advice 
on any one of these points ; and as to Mr. Sheri- 

362 MR. grattan's letters on the [chap. X. 

dan's motion for an inquiry into the state of Ire- 
land, Government rejected it by 76 to 33. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

July 26th, 1807. 

My dear M'Can, — I never received the petition of the 
merchants, nor any letter on the subject. I have left 
London and gotten to a place within three miles of it, 
where Mrs. Grattan will have better air. 

Our business in Parliament is nearly at an end. Par- 
liament itself will be up in a few weeks : regarding the In- 
surrection Bill, I can only say that the bill ought to pass, 
and therefore I voted and spoke for it ; I am very sorry 
the people of Dublin should be of a different opinion, as I 
always wish to have their concurrence. I shall send you 
the last speech I made on the subject, but I fear it will 
give but little satisfaction, being stronger than the first. — 
Yours, ever, 

H. Grattan. 
Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick. 

Hammersmith, 10th August, 1807. 

My dear Doctor, — I am happy in your approbation, I 
had rather have it than the shout of popular applause. It 
would be impossible to please the people of Ireland, if, on a 
question like the last, they should turn upon me. I know 
not whether they will change their sentiments, but 1 know 
I shall not change mine. Some of the Opposition took up 
the question as a good party measure, on which to squib 
the Ministry — their arguments made no impression. I 
happened not to be in the House the last night of debating 
the Arms Bill, as no debate was expected, nor notice given 
that the debate which had taken place on the last night 
would be resumed on another. I should have voted as 

I am sorry the priest has been killed ; # this is the second 
priest in your neighbourhood that has met with that fate. 
Was Vesey at the funeral — you were right in going to it. 
If every clergyman acted on the same principle, religion 
would have more credit and more peace. I shall see you 
soon, as I mean to go to Ireland in less than a month, and 


* Rev. Mr.M'Carten, who was waylaid and killed on the highway I 
near Lucan by robbers. 



shall spend some days with you. Where is Hardy ? how 
is Hardy? I fancy Lord Charlemont's Life is forgotten, 
and yet he will not be able to pay his debts out of his in- 
come. I think he has lost an opportunity of profit and 
credit; remember me to him. Mrs. Grattan is really bet- 
ter, but she has not the use of her limbs, and is liable to 
short relapses every change of weather. She will not be 
able to come with me to Ireland — so that her illness has 
overset us very much ; we have gotten, for two months, a 
small house and garden near Hammersmith ; it is very con- 
venient, but too near the road ; however, we enjoy in it 
retirement, and in some degree, the country. 

Parliament will be prorogued immediately. Yon see 
what a situation we are in, and what our grand coalitions 
have ended in. Remember us to Mrs. Berwick and the 
children, and believe me, yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 
Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

Hammersmith, August 18th, 1807. 

My dear M'Can, — The expense of the last election you 
mention, has been paid, and is 3,000/.; it cannot be 
helped* — but I icill pay it in y self I could not understand 
by the letter by whom it has been paid — if by subscription, 
I'll pay it to the subscribers ; let me know. 

I shall have sent an extract of my last speech to you in 
a few days; the speech will not please those who make 
the present outcry, nor do I intend it should. 

I am glad to find, from the letters 1 receive, that my 
conduct on the two bills has been much approved of. 

I shall write to Mrs. L f soon. Tell her not to 

regard the outcry — you can best explain to her how little 
it deserves attention. — Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 
Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

Hammersmith, 26th August, 1807. 

My dear M'Can, — I have sent a draft of the substance 

• These various elections, and the expenses consequent thereon, cost 
his family upwards of 50,000/. The Reform Bill has in this respect been 
of great service to the public and to individuals, preserving the morals 
of the one and the independence of the other. 

t^His sister. 



of the speech — send it to Webb, but not as coming from me. 
It was taken by another hand j and it may be published as 
a pamphlet, if necessary. I wish that part of it which is 
written in another hand should be copied out, the copy 
sent to him, and the original destroyed. I will not have 
the bills published with it ; it were to enter into a defence 
of my conduct against a senseless outcry. 

One reason why I send the draft is to show that I do 
not respect that outcry. — Yours ever, 

H. G. 

The writer of the letter which the subjoined 
is a reply was one of Mr. Grattan's agents in the 
city election ; he well knew all the various meet- 
ings and factions in the county, and the feelings 
and dispositions of the people — no man was better 
aware of the existence of a discontented party in 
Ireland than he was, but that discontent was the 
natural and necessary consequence of the long 
misgovernment of the country ; the error was the 
leaning towards France, the remedy was the union 
of all Irishmen — if they had become national, 
their country would have been free, prosperous, 
and happy. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Wm. Sterne Hart. 

London, August 28th, 1807. 
My dear Hart, — I thank you for your letter, it was 
the letter of a friend, which character I have always found 
in you. 

I got the newspaper with the resolutions of the parishes 
against the Paving Bill. As to what you mention regard- 
ing the Insurrection Act, I am sure it made me enemies ; 
but at the same time my conviction was, that the bill was 
by no means what its enemies represented it to be, and 
that these very enemies had made it necessary. I am sure 
there were worthy men who disapproved of the bill. But 
those who abused me most for that measure, and continue 
to do so, would, if the French came, join them ; there is a 
great difference between opposing the measures of Govern- 
ment, as you say very truly, and supporting the French ; 


you and I only mean to do the former, but there are many 
who abuse us because we would not do the latter. 

I perceive by the newspaper and by the letter which 
you sent me, and by different letters and resolutions which 
I have received, that Dublin is very angry about the new 
Paving Bill, and I am not surprised at it. I thank you 
for your advice about it, it was the advice of a friend, and 
as such I esteem it. — I am, my dear Hart, yours most 
truly, Henry Grattan. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Henry Grattan, Jun. 

August 29th, 1807. 

My dear Henry, — The English Parliamentary Debates 
are in the study near the escrutoire — they, with many 
years' interruption, come down to the year 1804 — the 
speeches of the great speakers only are worth reading, and 
those not always. Johnston is supposed to have written 
the speeches in the time of Sir Robert Walpole. Those 
since are very indifferently taken, but worth reading on the 
leading questions — viz., French war, slave trade, negotia- 
tion for peace, treaty of Amiens, and some few other sub- 
jects. I will bring the debates from 1804 to this year, to 
Ireland — I have bought them. 

You never read Montesquieu — you will find two sets in 
the library — the worst is the best for reading, as it is dirty 
already. Abbe Raynal is in the study or in Mrs. Grat- 
tan's room, in French ; it is worth reading, if you have 
time to spare from college studies. How is Mr. Gannon ? # 
remember me to him most particularly. No news in Eng- 
land — every one in expectation of news from Copenhagen,f 
probably this day an account will arrive. M'Can is a 
little distracted, and he seems to think of nothing but two 
billsj which he has not seen, and the noise of some people 
in Dublin. 

I was happy to hear of your success, § you are right to 

* The private tutor ; fellow of college afterwards. 

f The English bombarded Copenhagen without notice, and took away 
the Danish fleet ; they were often called upon to pay for the injuries they 
committed, and the question of Danish claims was brought before Par- 
liament so late even as the year 1844. 

\ The Insurrection and Arms Bills. 
| § In the Historical Society of Dublin College, an excellent institu- 
tion, where silver medals were awarded for prizes in History, Com- 
position, and Oratory. 


apply yourself to composition, such an application will 
make you read with observation. 

Do not forget to rise early, and have fixed hours for 
study, and do not forget the Latin and Greek which you 
have gotten by heart— it is a great advantage to have the 
beautiful passages of Homer, Horace, and Virgil by heart. 
Read out loud, without straining your voice, passages in 
the three languages, Greek, Latin, and English. 

I wish you would keep up your knowledge of the French 
language, it is of the last consequence to speak it with 
fluency and apprehend it with ease — no man is a gentle- 
man without it. I do not call myself a gentleman for that 
reason. I thought Catalani # would astonish and charm — 
she amazed and delighted me. — Yours ever, 

H. G. 

Henry Grattan, Jun., Esq., Tinnehinch, Bray, Ireland. 

* The celebrated vocal performer, whose charms of voice and beauty 
of person were fully equalled by the goodness of her heart and the ex- 
cellence of her understanding ; she still lives at Florence, where the 
author saw her last year, respected and beloved by all who know her. 
She came to Ireland in 1807; and the impression she made, and the 
applause she drew forth, was surprising. She was visited by the first 
people of the country, who eagerly invited her to their houses, and at 
Tinnehinch she was received with the greatest regard and affection. 
Mr. Grattan, who was passionately fond of Italian music, was delighted 
with her talent and her manner of execution, which were superior to 
any thing ever heard. She said that the Irish people were not only fond 
of music, but understood it — they were the best audiences and judges 
she ever sung to — their applause better timed and more judicious than 
that of other nations. She affords a fine example to unite purity of 
mind with beauty of person, and superiority of talent ; but unfortunately 
it has been lost on her successors. 



The Roman Catholic Proceedings in 1808. — Letters of Mr. Grattan 
thereon. — The Grant to the Catholic College of Maynooth reduced by 
the No-Popery administration. — Remarks thereon by Mr. Foster, Mr. 
Grattan, and Sir A. Wellesley (Secretary, afterwards Duke of Wel- 
lington). — The History of the Veto. — Efforts of Government to gain 
influence over the Catholic Church in 1782, 1795, 1799, 1806, and 
1808. — The Object of Government. — Edmund Burke's opinions on 
this question. — Catholic Question brought forward by Mr. Grattan. — 
Dr. Milner's Commutation with Mr. Ponsonby. — Veto as stated by 
him. — Milner retracts. — People of Ireland oppose Veto. — Mr. 
Grattan's opinion thereon. — His Letter to Mr. M'Can. — Bank 
Question in 1809. — Sale of Writership and Seat in Parliament by 
Lord Castlereagh. — Mr. Grattan's conduct thereon. — History of that 
shameful transaction. — Public immorality and corruption. — Conduct 
of the Duke of York. — Investigation by the House of Commons. — 
Mrs. Clarke. — Mr. Grattan votes against the Duke, who is removed 
from the command of the Army. — Expedition to Walcheren. — Great 
loss experienced by the Army. — Subject of the Irish Union. — Mr. 
Grattan's Letters thereon. — Trade and Exports of Ireland. — Mr. 
Grattan's Letters to Messrs. M'Can and Berwick. 

The Roman Catholics assembled on the 19th of 
January in Dublin. Lord Fiugall took the chair, 
and Count Dalton proposed that they should 
petition Parliament. Some individuals moved an 
adjournment, but the unanimity of the meeting- 
was preserved by the exertions of Mr. O'Connell. 
The resolution was adopted, and the care of the 
petition entrusted to Lord Fingall ; he offered it 
to the Duke of Portland, who declined to present 
it, and it was then entrusted to Lord Grenville. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

Brighton, January 25th, 1808. 

My dear M'Can, — Don't forget to send me the Evening 
Post. Also tell me more particulars about the Catholic 


meeting, and whether they think they have any chance, 
and whether they are encouraged in their hopes by any 
party in England. Send me, by some means or other, the 
book on Tithes. — Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 
Mr. Grattan to Matthew O'Connor, Esq.* 

London, February 1st, 1808. 
My dear Sir, — In my two last letters I gave you my 
opinion regarding the Catholic petition. It now remains 
to assure you that this opinion is formed on mature con- 
sideration, and in conformity to that of others. I have no 
view in giving that opinion to throw anything off myself; 
on the contrary, if, when his Lordship comes over here 
and consults on the subject, if then my opinion shall be 
thought wrong, and it shall then be conceived advisable 
that I should present and move on the petition, I shall not 
decline the offer. I have always considered the Catholic 
question abstracted from any party or administration. 
Lord Hutchinson and I, and our old friend Mr. Forbes, 
were from the first agreed on the subject. When I con- 
ceived that it was unadvisable to petition in the late 
administration and in the present, it was because no 
change of administration could influence me in the ques- 
tion. However, the petition is voted, and it now remains 
to give it every support. Tell M'Can he never writes to 
me. What is he doing? Mention me to Mr. Forbes, 
with this observation, that a young lawyer who rises early 
is like the early bird who picks the corn. Remember me 
to Mrs. O'Connor, and believe me yours very truly, 

H. Grattan. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, February 11th, 1808. 

My dear M'Can, — I got your letter of the 6th, and 
am to return you my thanks for your kindness. 

I shall be very glad to hear from Lord Fingall, and 
shall, when he comes to England, wait on him immediately 
when I know where he is, to pay my respects to him. 
You will give his Lordship my compliments. I am glad 
my last letter, which was only a continuation of my first, 

* This individual, in 1844, wrote the History of the Irish Brigade. 
It has been published since his death, and is an interesting memoir, and 
shows the ability and bravery of the Irish. 



was agreeable to his Lordship. You may depend on it I 
shall never avoid any part serviceable to the Catholics. 

How is Henry? There have been good debates, but not 
very many. Our friend Ponsonby acquitted himself ex- 
cellently.* In the House of Lords, Lord Grey and Lord 
Moira spoke remarkably well. Lord Wellesley,f on the 
other side, was justly praised. We shall have a debate 
to-night in the Lords.! — Yours ever, 


In the former session Mr. Foster stated it was 
the intention of Government only to grant the 
additional sum of 5,000/. for one year to the Col- 
lege of Maynooth; it had been originally intended 
for the education of 200 priests, for which purpose 
8,000/. was voted by the Irish Parliament, and 
the additional sum had been granted by the late 
administration, for 200 students more and for new 
buildings that were in contemplation. To finish 
them the entire amount had been granted last 
year, and he now wished to add to the original sum, 
and make it 9,250/. Irish, to educate the 50 new 
students. Sir John Newport proposed 13,000/. 
Sir Arthur Wellesley (Duke of Wellington) ob- 
jected to this : he stated that 2,000 priests was 
the number required in Ireland; that 111 were 
educated in different parts of Ireland, which, with 
250 educated at Maynooth, made 3G1 ; a number 
sufficient for the supply. Sir John Newport ob- 
served, that prior to the French Revolution 478 
students were educated on the continent, of which 
420 received gratuitous education. A greater 
number would be required now, as the Catholic 
clergy amounted to near 3,000. Mr. Grattan 

* Mr. Ponsonby's motion for papers respecting the Expedition to 
Copenhagen, on which occasion lie delivered an admirable speech. 

f He supported ministers on the question as to the right to seize the 
Danish fleet ; he was an early friend of Mr. Grattan, and so continued 
to the last. 

t On the dispute with America, and the mediation of Russia and 

VOL. V. B B 


said that if provision was not made for the clergy 
at home, they would seek it abroad, and would 
bring back foreign connexions and foreign obliga- 
tions ; and while the spirit of Buonaparte pervaded 
the whole of the continent, that was not a time 
for keeping up the connexion. They would 
acquire political antipathies and Deistical princi- 
ples ; they would return religious Deists and 
political Catholics, to the great danger of over- 
throwing the Government. If the priests had any 
influence over the Catholics, they should be edu- 
cated with sentiments of domestic attachment, 
not with those of our political enemies. He 
doubted whether the priests had as much absolute 
influence over the people as was supposed. If 
they wished the Catholics of Ireland to be well 
conducted, they should make their priests objects 
not of contempt, but of veneration. The Pro- 
testant religion would not be extended by de- 
moralizing the Catholic clergy. On a division, 
the numbers for the larger grant were 33 ; for the 
lesser sum, 93. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, May 6th, 1808. 

My dear M'Can, — I am tired of London, where I shall 
be kept for a month. The debates of the House of Com- 
mons fatigue me. I take, however, little part in them, and 
when I do speak, the speeches don't appear; so that it 
makes little difference. 

The Catholic question will come on in the course of this 
month : it will be well supported. Last night we had a 
second debate on the Maynooth business, in which Dr. 
Duigenan took an indiscreet part, and hurt the Catholics 
not at all. — Yours, 

H. Grattan. 

It had been for a long time an object of the 
British Government to obtain an influence over 
the Roman Catholic Church. Having failed to 



put down that Church by persecution and penalty, 
they now strove, though in a lesser degree, to 
effect the object by art and intrigue. In 1782, 
they sought to interfere in the nomination of the 
Catholic bishops. From a letter of Mr. Burke, 
dated in February of that year, it appears that 
this plan was then in contemplation. In address- 
ing a noble lord* on the subject of the penal laws 
against the Catholics, he says — " I heard of a 
scheme of giving to the Castle the patronage of 
the presiding members of the Catholic clergy. 
At first I could scarcely credit it. • • * 
Never were the members of one religious sect fit to 
appoint the pastors of another. Those who have no 
regard for their welfare, reputation, or internal 
quiet, will not appoint such as are proper. * * 
It is a great deal to suppose that even the present 
Castle f could nominate bishops for the Roman 
Church of Ireland with a religious regard for its 
welfare. Perhaps they cannot — perhaps they 
dare not do it. * * I do not say this as 
thinking the leading men in Ireland would exer- 
cise this trust worse than others ; not at all. No 
men — no set of men — living are fit to administer 
the affairs, or to regulate the interior economy, of 
a Church to which they are enemies." 

Such were the opinions of Mr. Burke. The 
plan to which he alludes was not proceeded with 
at that period ; the times were not such as to 
allow even the public appearance of such a pro- 
position. The vigilant champions of Ireland were 
then wide awake, and those who strove to rescue 
their country from the baleful interference of the 
British minister would not have suffered him to 
assume any such power. The people, too, who 

* Burke's Works, edition of 1815, vol. vi. p. 290. 
f Lord Carlile was then Lord Lieutenant, and Mr. Eden (afterwards 
Lord Auckland) was Secretary —a weak and powerless government. 
B B 2 

372 mr. grattan's and mr. burke's [chap. XI. 

were not ill prepared to deal with a corrupt 
minister — having at that time arms in their hands 
— would not have entered into any bargain such 
as was contemplated ; for, though the Volunteers 
might not have understood the religious part of 
the question, it was not likely they would have 
assisted the minister, or that Mr. Grattan, who 
had introduced the resolutions at the Dungannon 
meeting in favour of religious toleration, would 
have agreed to add strength to the power he 
sought to shake, and give to the Crown more in- 
fluence in the State, by assenting to a direct inter- 
ference and influence over the Catholic prelacy 
and priesthood. 

At such a. moment, and with such men, the 
British minister was not likely to succeed even 
with the Catholic ; and as to the Protestants, in a 
few months afterwards, when the Duke of Port- 
land and Mr. Fox's party — that was friendly to 
Ireland — were in power, and prayed for time to 
enter into a negotiation with Lord Charlemont and 
Mr. Grattan on the subject of Ireland, these men, 
who led the popular movement, declined all parley 
with them, and rejected the offers proposed. 
There was no barter then as about the veto on 
the question of the Union, in 1799 ; there was no 
trafficking then as about the forty-shilling free- 
holders on the question of emancipation, in 1829. 
The leaders of the people then would not listen to 
any stipulations, or suffer any abatement of the 
rights of Ireland ; they simply presented the 
claims of their country upon the bayonets of the 

In some years afterwards, another opportunity 
presented itself for interfering with the Catholic 
Church, when another arrangement was about to 
be made with the Irish people. The project 
seems again to have been under consideration, 


and it appeared to be upon the same principle as 
in 1782, — the mercantile spirit of barter and of 
sale. The Roman Catholics were in expectation 
of getting something, and it was expected that 
they would give up something. This was in the 
years 1794 — 95, in the matter of the colleges 
that were to be established for the education of 
the Catholic clergy. The letter of Dr. Hussey 
(Roman Catholic bishop) to Mr. Burke, in 
January 1795, and the reply of the latter, allude 
to the measure then in contemplation. Mr. 
Burke's words are remarkable: — " I wish very 
much to see before my death an image of a 
primitive Christian Church. With little improve- 
ments, I think the Roman Catholic Church of 
Ireland very capable of exhibiting that state of 
things. * * Re-baptism you won't allow ; 
but truly it would not be amiss for the Christian 
Church to be re-christened. This is a great 
crisis for good or evil. Above all, do not listen to 
any other mode of appointing your bishops than the 
present, ichatever it is — no other elections than those 
you have — no Castle choices ! " 

Those were Mr. Burke's sentiments, in which 
Mr. Grattan coincided. At that period he was 
in communication with Mr. Burke, and in habits 
of intimacy with Dr. Hussey, who showed him 
Mr. Burke's correspondence ; and at the same 
time Mr. Burke was conferring with the Duke of 
Portland on the affairs of Ireland, on the subject 
of the Catholic colleges, and on the recall of Lord 
Fitzwilliam, and was well aware what were the 
intentions of the Ministers. On the 17th of 
March, in the same year, he wrote to Dr. Hussey, 
and gave the Catholics what he calls " his humble 
and respectful advice — that they should not inno- 
vate, or permit others to innovate, upon any part of 
their ecclesiastical polity. That polity has been 



preserved, and it has preserved them through the 
most dreadful storms that have perhaps shaken 
any Church for 250 years or upwards. Let no 

consideration of a little money prevail on them to 
relinquish any 'part of it ; for in the whole is their 
safety. I have heard of the election of priests to 
parishes, and bishops to dioceses, with an election by 
their enemies out of three candidates to be presented to 
their choice. My opinion is, that the old course — 
because it is the old course — should not in any in- 
stance be departed from by them. 

"If any aid be given to keep them in that 
course, — so advantageous to them and to public 
order, — good ; but no extraneous interference of 
another religious system, to which they are to be 
subservient. Permit no elections from within or 
from without." 

Such, after an interval of thirteen years, was 
again the confirmed opinion of Mr. Burke, — most 
remarkable when coming from so decided a sup- 
porter of royalty and all its prerogatives, and who 
at that period was strenuous in his efforts to pre- 
serve, if not to increase its power. 

The affairs of Ireland having become embar- 
rassed,— the Catholics having grown more discon- 
tented, in consequence of the disappointment as to 
the concession of their claims, and the recall of 
Lord Fitzwilliam, in consequence of the intrigues 
of Mr. Pitt and the King, having convulsed the 
country, the plan so censured by Mr. Burke was 
not proceeded on ; the project terminated simply 
in the erection of the College of Maynooth, and 
no interference with the nomination of the Catho- 
lic bishops was obtained for the Crown ; the ob- 
ject, however, was still kept in view* and more 
effectual steps were taken, and a nearer approach 

* See Lord Grenville's speech on moving the Catholic question in 


to the purpose was effected in the year 1799; in 
that year, when every art and deceit, every pro- 
mise and every fraud, every menace and every 
bribe was resorted to, it is not singular that some 
men should have been deceived, and have become 
the dupes of a dexterous and cunning minister. 

In the hopes of obtaining from a British Parlia- 
ment that which the Irish Parliament had so fool- 
ishly and so much to its cost refused (namely, 
their emancipation), four metropolitan and six 
diocesan Catholic bishops were induced, through 
the intrigues of Lord Castlereagh, to sign resolu- 
tions in favour of a royal veto in the appointment 
of their prelates.* This arrangement necessarily 
remained incomplete, as it depended on the pass- 
ing of the Catholic measure, which it was not the 
intention of the Government to concede ; Lord 
Castlereagh's object being then to cajole the 
clergy into a sanction of the principle in favour of 
the Crown, but not in any way to carry the mea- 
sure in favour of the Catholics — his cunning was 
discreditable, but successful. The question of 
Union, and the loss of the Irish Legislature, ab- 
sorbed every other consideration and filled every 
man's mind, so that the matter passed over, though 
not without severe animadversions on the Catholic 
prelates who had acted such an ignoble part in the 
hour of national danger and distress. 

The question was again revived in some degree 
in 1807, as appears from the Duke of Bedford's 
letter to Mr. Grattan, at page 331 ; this, too, ex- 
pired with the Whig ministry of that day, but it 
was destined to be revived under the auspices of 
an English ecclesiastic (Dr. Milner). 

Accordingly, the Catholic question was brought 

* See Lord Grenville's Letter to Lord Fingall in 1810 ; see Sir John 
Hippesley's Letters on the Catholic Claims, to Lord Fingall ; see also 
Maurice Fitzgerald's (Knight of Kerry) pamphlet alluding to these 
transactions, published 1845. 

376 dr. milker's communication [chap. XI. 

forward in May 1808, under the following circum- 
stances. Lord Fingall had been entrusted with 
the care of the petition, and had made private ap- 
plication to Mr. Ponsonby ; he stated to him that 
the Catholic Bishops had made a proposal to the 
Irish Government in 1799 ; that they entertained 
the same opinions now as they did then ; that they 
had an agent in London (Dr. Milner) who would 
call on Mr. Ponsonby on the subject. Accord- 
ingly, this person had communication, by letter, 
with him,* and detailed the sentiments of the 

* In the debate on this question in 1810, Mr, Ponsonby stated the 
proceedings regarding Dr. Milner, and produced the letter and ticket he 
then left at his house ; as follows : — 

On one side of the ticket was written "Dr. Milner, Bloomsbury," 
and on the other these remarks : — 

1. Protestant Succession. Clause in Oath of Defence Bill, 

2. Attending Established Service. 
Service by Articles of War. 

3. Catholic Catechism — Thomas Paine's Works, 

4. Nomination to Catholic Prelacies. 

The letter was in the following words : — 

" Dr. Milner presents his respectful compliments to the Right Hon. 
Mr. Ponsonby, and takes the liberty of stating, distinctly in writing, the 
substance of what he did say, or meant to say, in the conversation, 
which he had the honour of holding with Mr. Ponsonby. First, the 
Catholic Prelates of Ireland are willing to give a direct negative power 
to his Majesty's Government, with respect to the nomination of their 
titular bishoprics, in such manner that, when they have among them- 
selves resolved who is the fittest person for the vacant see, they will 
transmit his name to his Majesty's Ministers, and, if the latter should 
object to that name, they will transmit another and another, until a name 
is presented to which no objection is made; and (which is never likely 
to be the case) should the Pope refuse to give those essentially necessary 
spiritual powers, of which he is the depositary, to the person so pre- 
sented by the Catholic Bishops, and so approved of by Government, 
they will continue to present the names until one occurs which is 
agreeable to both parties, namely, the Crown and the Apostolic See. It 
is to be observed, however, — 1. That the Crown does not interfere with 
the concerns of any other religious sect or church which it does not sup- 
port. 2. That the nominators in this business, namely, the Catholic 
Bishops j have universally sworn allegiance to his Majesty. 3. That they 
will, moreover, engage to nominate no person who had not taken the 
oath in question. 

" 2ndly. It appears that the clause concerning the Protestant Succes- 
sion does not occur in the oath of the Defence Bill; but it would be 
highly gratifying to the consciences of the Catholic bishops and clergy. 


Catholics as to the appointment of their Bishops. 
This was, in general terms, imparted to Mr. Grat- 
tan, who, on the 25th of May, moved that their 
petition should be referred to a Committee of the 
whole House. He stated, " that he had a pro- 
position which the Catholics had authorized him 
to make, and it is this, that in the future nomi- 
nation of Bishops, his "Majesty might interfere 
and exercise his royal privilege, and that no Ca- 
tholic Bishop shall be appointed without the en- 
tire approbation of his Majesty." Mr. Grattan 
entered no further into the subject, and in these 
general terms only communicated what he had 
been authorized to say ; but Ponsonby went fur- 
ther, and said that he made the statement on 
the authority of Dr. Milner, who was a Catholic 
Bishop in this country, and who was authorized 
by the Catholic Bishops of Ireland to make this 
proposition in case of their emancipation being 
conceded. This proposition was, that when the 

and a great proportion of the laity (should an opportunity occur), if any 
friend of theirs would distinctly state, in what sense they understood that 
clause in the oath appointed for them to take, particularly in that of 
1791, viz. us a penalty which must for ever remain upon them, and to 
which they submit with all humility, met as an engagement which they 
take upon themselves in such sort that they would be obliged to take no 
arms against his Majesty if he were to go to mast* They conceive them- 
selves justified in understanding the clause in this sense, by the most 
positive assurances that such was the meaning of the legislature, which 
were given them in 1791 by Bishop Horsley, and other distinguished 
senators, who managed the bill in Parliament. 

u 3rdly. The practice of forcing Catholic soldiers and sailors to attend 
the established service of the Church of England, and everywhere else, 
except in Ireland, is a religious grievance and oppression, which is 
deeply felt by all Catholics, particularly by the subjects of this into- 

" 4thly. Mr. Ponsonby was so good as to say, that he would disclaim, 
in the name of the Catholics of Ireland, the civil and religious code of 
Thomas Paine, which they have been accused, in the newspapers at 
least, of teaching and holding. 

" Dr. Milner has not, of course, had an opportunity yet of consulting 
with the Catholic prelates of Ireland on the important subject of the 
Catholic presentations ; but he has every reason to believe, that they will 
cheerfully subscribe to the plan traced out in the first page of this note. 
11, Queen Street, Bhomsbury Square. 



Prelates had resolved on the person to be nomi- 
nated to a vacant bishopric, his name should be 
submitted for the King's approbation. If that was 
refused, another person should be proposed, and 
so on in succession, until his Majesty's approba- 
tion should be obtained, so that the appointment 
should finally rest with the King. This excited 
considerable sensation amongst the English mem- 
bers, but Mr. Perceval, who was averse to all 
concession, opposed it, as he did not think it would 
content or conciliate the Irish, and added, rather 
whimsically, " that he did not conceive himself 
precluded from supporting the Catholic claims 
under different circumstances ; for instance, if a 
change took place in the Catholic religion itself!" 
On a division, the numbers were, 128 for Mr. 
Grattan's motion, 281 against it — a majority of 
153.* In the House of Lords, Lord Grenville 
made a similar motion to that of Mr. Grattan — 
spoke more decidedly on the question of the veto, 
and stated that his ideas and those of Mr. Pitt 
had been similar in the year 1799. 

Dr. Milner, the day after the debate, published 
a protest against the use his name had been made 
of, the preceding evening, on the subject of the 
veto. This aggravated the case, opened the door 
to controversy and recrimination, which lasted for 
a number of years, and greatly injured the Catholic 
cause. With what feelings of propriety or justice 
Dr. Milner could adopt the course he did, it is 
difficult to imagine, when the letter and instruc- 
tions given by him to Mr. Ponsonby are con- 
sidered ; he seems to have made an unaccountable 

* Nine counties had forwarded petitions from the Protestant inhabi- 
tants in favour of the Catholic claims ; and a letter from Mr. Plunket 
(the late Attorney-General) was read by Mr. Ponsonby, which stated, 
"There is nothing new in this country, excepting, 1 believe I speak 
within bounds when I say that nine in ten Protestants, even including 
the clergy, would poll for Catholic emancipation." 


mistake, and certainly did the Catholics great in- 

In the month of September, the Catholic Pre- 
lates met in Dublin, and resolved, "that it was 
their decided opinion that it was inexpedient to 
introduce any alteration in the canonical mode 
hitherto observed in the nomination of the Roman 
Catholic Bishops, which mode long experience 
has proved to be unexceptionable, wise, and salu- 
tary." They followed this by another resolution, 
pledging themselves only to recommend such per- 
sons as were of unimpeachable loyalty and peace- 
able conduct. This was signed by twenty- three 
Bishops ; there were only three dissentients, namely 
those prelates who signed the resolutions of 1799. 
For this proceeding they received the thanks of 
the Catholics at several meetings in various parts 
of Ireland, — for the laity now took a very decided 
part against the veto, — but the result was, that the 
question remained in abeyance during 1809, and 
suffered considerably in the opinion of the people 
of both countries. 

On this intricate subject Mr. Grattan had been 
very cautious, and acted a judicious part. He 
only stated what he had been commissioned to 
say on their behalf, but his opinion was, that the 
veto was a bad measure ; and, in his mind, it was 
a great question whether it would not be injurious 
to liberty to admit the Catholics, and give such 
power to the Crown, — he thought it would add to 
the physical strength of the Empire, but, that like 
other churches, theirs would be venal. " I own I 
tremble" were his words. The fact was, Mr. 
Grattan was afraid of Buonaparte. He considered 
that Ireland was in danger of being lost, and that, 
between the power of France and the exasperating 
bigotry of the British minister, it would be next 
to impossible to induce the great body of the 



people of Ireland to adhere to the connection ; 
this caused him to submit the proposition to Par- 
liament, otherwise he would have refused to com- 
municate to that body the proposition from Dr. 
Milner and the Catholic Prelates, just as stead- 
fastly as he had refused to present their petition 
and urge their claims in Parliament the year be- 
fore, when he conceived it injurious and im- 
prudent. He said that whatever would be done, 
nothing would take place without an addition of 
power to the Crown, and he even foresaw and 
foretold the attack that was afterwards made on 
the forty-shilling freeholders on passing the Eman- 
cipation Act. 

In 1799 the Catholic Prelates had not only 
made a tender of the measure, but had gone fur- 
ther ; for an inquiry was then instituted into the 
value of every living held by the priests, and a 
return was made to the Government, and it was 
not then considered incompatible with their re- 
ligion, to grant a veto to the Crown. However, 
he did not urge the point much in his speech, and 
was brief and reserved on the subject. Mr. Pon- 
sonby was less so, and Lord Grenville went at 
great length into the subject, and stated that the 
veto was part of the system in contemplation at 
the Union, and that on this subject Mr. Pitt's 
ideas and opinions were the same. From hence 
arose a controversy that lasted several years,- — the 
English party were dissatisfied at Dr. Milner's 
conduct, — some of the Irish party took his part, 
— their clergy and laity protested against the veto, 
and the question got more embroiled than ever. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, 13th May, 1808. 
Mv dear M'Can. — I have learned of poor Lady Ty- 
rawly's # death, and was much shocked. I had a regard 
* She was cousin to Mr. Grattan, daughter of his aunt (Mrs. 
Levinge) who was the daughter of Chief Justice Marlay. 



for her, and had obligations to her. I shall see you soon. 
We have had some carious debates of late : one on the 
subject of Doctor Duigenan, who spoke against the Ca- 
tholics on the Maynooth question, with his usual vehe- 
mence; that, and his other conduct regarding them, gave 
cause for a motion against his advancement to the 

I did not speak against him — nor vote — as he had been 
my enemy I would not be his judge. There is nothing 
new here. — Yours most truly, 

H. G. 

Same to Same. 

London, May 27th, 1808. 

My dear M'Cax, — I was half awake when I wrote 
yesterday. Our Catholic question went off favourably, I 
think for the Catholics. There was no violent sentiment 
against them, and a very strong sentiment for them ; all 
the opposition almost spoke for them, and ably. Ponsonby 
was remarkably well ; he answered Mr. Wilberforce, and 
attacked Mr. Perceval, who spoke with less violence than 
was apprehended, and argued with temper. 

I received more praise for what I said than I deserved ; 
one half had the languor of old age, and wanted fire and 
rapidity. However, the Catholic cause is rather served on 
the whole. — Yours, 


Same to Same. 

London, June 4th, 1808. 
My dear M'Can, — I got your letters. I am glad the 
Catholic proceedings have given satisfaction. I was anxious 
about the event, as I always shall be, till the Catholics 
obtain their object. Their case is not unpopular in the 
House of Commons, as you will see by the debates, and 
their great enemies said nothing on the question. On the 
Bank Charter* we were within thirteen of the ministry in 

* On Lord Henry Petty 's (Lansdowne) motion on the Bank of 
Ireland Bill, to enable Catholics to be chosen Governors or Directors. 
The charter had been granted in 1782, but even at that bright period, 
the dawn of religious liberty only appeared, and the spirit of the age 
was not sufficiently liberal to remove the penal code ; but in 1793, when 
the relaxing statute passed, it was intended to have admitted Catholics ; 
unfortunately, by the omission of a single word in the act, they were 


favour of the Catholics. The debate is to be published 
here — I must revise my part of it — it will then go to Ire- 
land; this will be better than a separate publication. The 
case of the late officers of the Paving Board is a hard one 
— but to get them compensation from the public would be 
too strong a measure — it is for that reason the ministry 
does not move it. — Believe me, yours ever, and most truly, 

H. Grattan. 

Ponsonby spoke remarkably well on the Catholic ques- 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick. 

June 20th, 1808. 

My dear Berwick, — I am sorry you are leaving Ire- 
land, because I am going to it, and I lose some pleasant 
days which I should have spent with you. 

1 go to Worthing on Wednesday, return in a few days, 
and then proceed with the boys to Ireland, where we shall 
stay for about two months ; a vagabond life, but it is so 
ordered by a concurrence of accidents. 

I find the Bishop of LlandafT* has, in the republication 
of his charge, prefixed an advertisement, in which he 
signifies his sense of the propriety of acceding to the Ca- 
tholic measure. This, added to the speech of the Bishop 
of Norwich,t will do service. I was shocked at Lady 
Tyrawly's death. I am harassed by preparing to go into 
the country, paying bills, &c. &c, disagreeable, ungrateful, 

The Catholic debate will be published immediately — it 

held to be excluded ; and on this occasion the Imperial Parliament was 
in vain appealed to, in order to carry into effect the intention of the 
Irish; on a division, the number for admitting the Catholics was 83, 
against them 96. 

* Watson, Bishop of Llandaff, delivered his pastoral charge to his 
clergy in June, 1805, after the discussion of the Catholic question; it 
was friendly to toleration, but was not then published. But in 1808, as 
the situation of the country grew more critical, it appeared with a pre- 
face, stating his approbation of the measure (of emancipation), M as 
calculated to support the independence of the country, to secure the 
stability of the throne, to promote peace among fellow-subjects and 
charity among fellow-christian, and in no probable degree dangerous to 
the constitution either in church or state." See his letters to the minis- 
ter on this subject, published among " His Anecdotes," by his Son. 
Ed. 1814. 

f Bathurst — another liberal and enlightened individual who voted 
and spoke for the Catholics. The first speech he ever made in Parlia- 



gives me great pleasure what you told me in your letter on 
that subject. I was very anxious about the question, and 
think it advanced. I long to talk to you on that, and, in- 
deed, other subjects, but shall not have an opportunity for 
many years, I suppose, for you coming to England when I 
go to Ireland, and I returning from Ireland when you leave 
England, per consequence we cannot meet except like 
highwaymen — on the road. 

Dr. Baillie has just left me, he says Mrs. Grattan is in 
no danger, that she will recover so far to be at her ease, 
and, perhaps, to walk on flat ground # — even this is con- 

Remember me to Mrs. B. and the children, particularly 
my grandchild. — Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 

The public affairs in 1809, in which Mr. Grat- 
tan took part, were the questions as to the British 
Orders in Council, which had been passed in con- 
sequence of the Berlin and Milan Decrees of 
Buonaparte, declaring certain ports to be in a 
state of blockade, and by which the trade between 
Great Britain and America had been considerably 
injured. On this subject Mr. Whitbread moved 
an address to his Majesty for conciliatory nego- 
tiations with America ; in this he was warmly sup- 
ported by Mr. Grattan, who stated that England 
had, by her impolicy, lost the affections of Ame- 
rica, and that, if she persevered in such conduct, 
she would drive America into the arms of France. 

Another question in which Mr. Grattan took 
part, was one that regarded Lord Castlereagh. 
It appeared from the evidence given before a 
Committee on East Indian abuses, that he had 
given a writership to his friend Lord Clancarty to 
dispose of, in order to purchase a seat in the 
House of Commons. Whether he had introduced 
these corrupt practices from Ireland, where he 

* She never recovered the use of her limbs, and for twenty years was 
unable to move from her chair. 


had employed them before so successfully for his 
object, or whether he found them indigenous in 
the soil to which he had transplanted the remains 
of the Irish Parliament, it is not necessary to in- 
quire — (the latter was the most likely) — but upon 
the discovery, a motion was made by Lord Archi- 
bald Hamilton, condemning the transaction, and 
resolving, "that Lord Castlereagh, as President 
of the Board of Control, as Privy Councillor and 
Secretary of State, had been guilty of a violation 
of duty, and of an attack on the purity and Con- 
stitution of Parliament." Mr. Canning moved a 
singular amendment, by no means complimentary 
to his colleague, namely, "that, considering the 
intention referred to in the evidence was not car- 
ried into effect, the House did not think it neces- 
sary to come to a criminatory resolution." 

On this occasion Mr. Grattan spoke, and it was 
thought that he would, on such a subject as the 
sale of seats in Parliament, have duly remembered 
the conduct of Lord Castlereagh in Ireland, and 
have exhibited, in their proper colours, the cor- 
rupt practices that had there been pursued. The 
occasion would not have been passed over by a 
less noble-minded or a younger man, and justice 
almost demanded that it should be made a day of 
public trial and retribution. 

To the surprise of many, and the disappoint- 
ment of some (for the House of Commons is not 
averse to a smart political wrangle), Mr. Grattan 
adopted a milder course, and though he con- 
demned the offence, he was lenient towards the 
offender. He observed that, as the noble Lord 
was on his trial, and the House was bound to go 
through the trial with "judicial temper, rather 
than with any spirit of prosecutionary violence, 
and it was upon this principle that he could not 
approve of going back to the political proceedings 



in which the noble Lord hud such a share in effect- 
ing the measure of Union with Ireland. He could 
hardly think it fair to charge him upon one issue, 
and to try him on another; but as the noble Lord 
had confessed his crime, he did not think the 
House could refuse to affix to such a transac- 
tion the deserved reprobation." For the resolu- 
tion there were 1G7, and against it 21G ; Mr. Can- 
ning's amendment passed afterwards by 47 ma- 

On this occasion it must be admitted that Mr. 
Grattan displayed great generosity, the crime of 
this individual being precisely that by which he 
had done such mischief to his country, and de- 
stroyed the constitution that Mr. Grattan had so 
great a share in obtaining ; such conduct was 
certainly little deserved by Lord Castlereagh, 
however noble on the part of Mr. Grattan — it was 
well received by the House, and by Lord Castle- 
reagh with strong sentiments of gratitude and 
obligation, which he took occasion subsequently 
to express; but the insidious friendship of his 
colleague, Canning, was never forgotten. 

The mode of managing these frauds is at once 
singular and sagacious, and seems to have been so 
well arranged that the practice must have been 
reduced to system at least if we are to judge from 
the expertness of the parties. It appeared that 
Lord Clancarty (Trench) wanted to get into the 
House of Commons, and finding that he could get 
money for the sale of an office, he applied to Lord 
Castlereagh to get a writership to sell to a person 
of the name of Ogg, who was to give 3,500/. for 
it, which was to be given to Lord Sligo for a seat 
in Parliament for Lord Clancarty ; out of this 
3,500/., 5/. per cent, was to be paid as commission 
to two agents in the business, and a loan of money 
was promised to a Mrs. Groves, 

vol, v. c c 



In this matter the parties stood thus : — 

Lord Castlereagh did not know Ogg, Lord 
Clancarty did not know Ogg, Lord Sligo did not 
know Ogg ; but Ogg was to get the writership, 
Sligo was to get the money, and Clancarty was to 
get the seat. 

As President of the Board of Control, Lord 
Castlereagh had sworn " not to bargain or be privy 
to any bargain for civil situations in India f yet one 
lord was to sell a seat for money, and another 
lord a writership for a seat ; thus a seat was to be 
sold which should not be sold, and an office was 
to be bought which should not be bought, and an 
oath was to be broken which should have been in- 
violate. It was perjury — complicated iniquity 
— violation of law and constitution ; yet it occa- 
sioned little noise — little surprise-— no indignation. 
The traffic in eastern corruption, and its gains, 
had so habituated and hardened the mind of both 
Parliament and people, that no shame was mani- 
fested — no remorse felt* — no punishment in- 
flicted. Such was the sickly state of the moral 
age, and so deteriorated its principle, — the melan- 
choly consequence of too much power and too 
much wealth, and the approaching symptoms of a 
declining state. 

The proceeding, however, injured Lord Castle- 
reagh ; but strange to say, he suffered more from 
his so-called friend Mr. Canning, than from his 
former opponent Mr. Grattan. He never forgot 
the forbearance of the latter, nor the enmity of the 

* Demosthenes in his celebrated third Phillippic, compares the pris- 
tine viitue of the Athenians with their subsequent baseness; in the 
former lie particularises their abhorrence of bribes — 

■)(pi)Hara Xa[x[3avovrag cnravreg tjjLivav, /cat x a ^ 7 l 7riorarov V v 70 
vojpodoKsvra ekeXsyxOrivai, icai Ti[AOjpla fjeyicrr?] tstov skoXchtov, /cat 
7rapaiTt)Gt.g sdsfxia rjv, sde avyyvoj/irj. 

In their state of degradation he says of those who took money. 

&]Xog £i rig siXt]<p£ ti, ytXojg av ofxoXoyT], avyyvojfxt] Toig tXtyxOj.itvoig, 
fxiaog ai tutoiq Ttg £7rirr/|iia, raXXa iravTa oaa £/c ra iwpodoicsiv rjprrjTctt, 


former. Canning declared he would no longer 
remain in office with him, but was persuaded by 
the Duke of Portland to continue in for a short 
time ; and (shame to say) during this period Lord 
Castlereagh was allowed to direct the expedition 
to Walcheren. Such are the angry and dangerous 
tides in politics that waft empires and armies to 
their disgrace and ruin. After the melancholy 
failure of this immense armament, his colleague 
declared him to be incompetent, as well as un- 
worthy, and a breach and a duel were the result. 

The other questions in which Mr* Grattan took 
part in the Session of 1809, were the motion of 
Sir Henry Parnell to relieve the people of Ireland 
from the oppressive mode of paying tithe, and 
the bill of Mr. Curwen to improve the represen- 
tation of the people in Parliament : both of which 
he supported, and neither of which was carried. 
But the subject that ri vetted the attention of the 
people of England, was the proceeding by the 
House of Commons regarding the Duke of York. 
Mr. Wardle had brought forward charges against 
him as Commander-in-chief, for suffering commis- 
sions to be disposed of through the influence of a 
favourite, Mrs. Mary Anne Clarke, the wife of a 
tradesman, with whom he had been connected 
for a few years. Prior to any step, the minister 
had privately asked him if such statements could pos- 
sibly be well founded. The Duke replied they u erc 
not true, and the minister unfortunately believed 
him. This folly of Mr. Perceval cost him dear. 
He agreed to an inquiry. A committee of the 
whole House was appointed, the lady was ex- 
amined at the bar, and a most disgraceful scene 
took place. Disclosures the most unbecoming 
were made — proceedings the most undignified 
were revealed — alike destructive of the Duke's 
character as a man of honour, of sense and of 
c c 2 



morality. The case was not made out as fully as 
Mr. Wardle expected, but enough was proved to 
show great weakness on the part of the Duke ; 
and two of his letters* to this lady discovered the 
influence she possessed over him, which, if ex- 
erted, might very probably have greatly biassed 
his conduct. Promotions were paid for— she had 
interfered, and had received the money. The 
personal appearance of this individual was pleas- 
ing. f Her features were fair and pretty — her 
figure graceful, but small, her manner easy and 
genteel, and her voice soft and persuasive : truth, 
candour, and artlessness were cleverly assumed, 
and, with every semblance of nature — in short, 
she acted her part to admiration ; and the 
House was prepossessed in her favour, particu- 
larly when, on one occasion, she was some- 
what rudely cross-examined. J The attendance of 
the members was numerous — the old looked gay 
and smirking — the young were joyous and joking 
— the witness was calm and collected : she smiled 
at Mr. Wilberforce, was facetious with the 
Speaker, severe on Mr. Croker,§ and civil and 
formal to the Serjeant-at-arms. In fine, this grave 
assembly seemed somewhat amused, though cer- 
tainly lowered, by the undignified and ribald ex- 
hibition. Never was a play better acted on any 
stage. The Duke was acquitted by the House, 
and pronounced guilty by the people. 

The particulars were as follows : — ■ 

In the month of January Mr. Wardle brought 

* Vol. xii. Parliamentary Debates, Appendix^ 

f The author sat beneath the gallery during the inquiry, it being the 
privilege of a member to bring in his son. 

+ Mr. Croker desired that " the woman" should answer the question. 
The House recoiled at his ungentlemanlike manner and expression. 

§ She ridiculed his provincial dialect, particularly his pronunciation 
of the word person, that he called parson ; and alluded to his spying her 
proceedings from a garret window in an opposite house. It led, how- 
ever, to his elevation to the Secretaryship of the Admiralty. 




forward his motion, and stated a number of cases 
to prove the corrupt practices in the disposal of 
offices and commissions in the army. These he 
supported by several witnesses, the principal of 
whom was Mrs. Clarke, and the officers imme- 
diately concerned. The committee consumed six 
weeks in examining evidence, and one week in 
debating it. Pending these proceedings, the Duke 
of York, on the 23rd of February, addressed a letter 
to the Speaker, stating that he had waited with 
anxiety till the committee had closed this in- 
quiry; he observed his name coupled with tran- 
sactions the most criminal and disgraceful ; that 
he regretted and lamented a connection should 
have existed, that exposed his character and 
honour to public animadversion. As to the 
offences alleged, he, in the most solemn manner 
— upon his honour as a Prince — asserted his inno- 
cence, not only by denying any corrupt partici- 
pation in the infamous transactions, or connivance 
at their existence, but also the slightest knowledge 
or suspicion* that they existed at all. 

He hoped that the House would not, on such 
evidence, adopt any proceeding prejudicial to his 
honour and character; but if they thought his 
innocence questionable, he claimed not to be con- 
demned without trial, or to be deprived of the 
benefit and protection afforded to every British sub- 
ject, by those sanctions on which alone evidence 
is received in the administration of the law. 

This letter was manifestly intended to cover his 
retreat, and was thus prepared by the minister. 
But it was unwise — untrue — unconstitutional; 
and was so considered by Mr. Whitbread, Lord 
Henry Petty, and other members, who declared it 
to be a gross attack on the privileges of the House. 
It was, however, passed over — probably through 

* She spent five thousand a year, the Duke only allowed her one. 



commiseration. On the 6th March, Mr. Wardle 
proposed an address to the King, stating that the 
existence of corrupt practices and abuses were 
true, and could not have continued without the 
knowledge of the Commander-in-chief, and that 
lie ought, therefore, to be deprived of the command 
of the army. By way of amendment, the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Perceval, then 
moved two resolutions, declaring that there was 
no ground for the charges against his Royal High- 
ness, nor any connection with the corrupt practices 
disclosed. These resolutions were to be followed 
up by an address to the King, expressing the re- 
gret of the House that such a connection should 
have existed, whereby criminal and disgraceful 
transactions were carried on, and the integrity of his 
Royal Highness's conduct brought into question, 
but that it was a consolation to observe the regret 
he had expressed on the subject of that connection, 
and the House trusted that he would keep in view 
the bright example of virtuous conduct which his 
Majesty has afforded to his subjects. 

On the 10th March, Mr. Bankes moved as an 
amendment, an address to his Majesty, stating 
that such corrupt practices and abuses did exist; 
that there was no ground to charge his Royal 
Highness with personal corruption or participation 
in any of the profits derived by such undue means, 
but that such abuses could scarcely have existed 
without exciting the suspicion of the Commander- 
in-chief, and that the House submitted to his Ma- 
jesty, whether the command of the army ought 
any longer to remain in his hands ; that the abuses 
unveiled a course of conduct of the worst example 
to public morals, and highly injurious to the cause 
of religion, which, if not discountenanced by his 
Majesty and the House, cannot fail to have a per- 
nicious effect on the main-springs of social order 



and well-regulated society, which it was his Ma- 
jesty's care to strengthen by his counsels, and 
illustrate by his example. 

On the 13th March, Sir Thomas Turton moved 
his amendment, that there was ground for charg- 
ing his Royal Highness of having a knowledge 
that there were corrupt practices. These various 
propositions were debated at great length, until the 
17th March, when the division took place, the 
numbers being, for the Chancellor of the Exche- 
quer's address 278, and against it 196, being a 
majority of 82 in favour of the Duke. On this 
question Mr. Grattan voted against his Royal 
Highness. The next day the Duke sent in his 
resignation to his Majesty. The other divisions 
are worth noticing, as they show the spirit of the 
times and the disposition of the representatives. 
The division on the 8th March, which was to sub- 
stitute the amendment of the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer instead of Mr. Wardle's motion for an 
address, was, for Mr. Wardle's motion 123; for 
Mr. Perceval's amendment 3G4 ; for Mr. Bankcs' 
amendment 199, and against it 294; for Sir 
Thomas Turton's amendment 135, against it 334, 
— so careful were they in avoiding to charge the 
Duke with connivance or participation. At length, 
on the 20th March, Lord Althorpe moved, that as 
the Duke had resigned, the House did not now 
think it necessary to proceed with the evidence. 
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had stated 
that, as the House had proved his innocence, the 
Duke could now fairly tender his resignation to 
his Majesty, proposed the omission of the word 
" now" which was carried by 235 to 112. 

Thus ended these disgraceful proceedings. The 
nation was scandalized and indignant — society was 
outraged and insulted — private morals were deeply 
wounded — and the royal family was lowered in 



the esteem of the people, who looked upon them 
as the 'patrons of profligacy. The extravagance — • 
the excesses — the wantonness of the Prince in his 
youth, and the criminal conduct of the Duke in 
his age, became the subject of general condemna- 
tion. Every rude hand unsparingly assisted to 
tear aside the veil that covered their private de- 
formities, and to expose them beneath the public 
gaze with a joyful malignity. One alone was 
spared, — the King was the only individual who 
escaped. The people felt for his grey hairs and 
his infirmities — they condoled with him in his 
calamity, and in the anguish he sustained for the 
disgrace of the son whom he most loved, and they 
forgot for a moment the political errors of his reign 
in the private misfortunes of his family. 

During these events — which a wise minister 
should have risked every hazard to avoid — there 
impended over the country another calamity, of a 
different nature, which fell upon her with unwonted 
severity. England had failed in most of her ex- 
peditions, and her ministers now prepared one 
that was to add the climax to all their former 
mismanagement, and to eclipse every one of her 
past misfortunes. The King had objected to the 
appointment of Sir Arthur Wellesley to the com- 
mand of the expedition to Portugal, on the ground 
that he was too young and inexperienced ; the 
minister, however, overruled him. But when 
another expedition was planned he insisted on 
having, as he termed it, "his own commander;'' 
and the recollection and love he bore to Mr. Pitt 
led him, unfortunately, to select from that family 
the Earl of Chatham.* Austria — who would not 
march a single soldier without a subsidy from 

* The narrative that he handed to his Majesty, unknown to his 
brother officers and the members of the cabinet, showed how he con- 
ceived himself privileged to exert that influence which had so long 



England — had urged the British Cabinet to make 
a diversion in Holland in her favour ; and some 
riots among the artisans and workmen in the 
Dutch towns having occurred, they were repre- 
sented as indicating a spirit of hostility to Buona- 
parte's government, which should be quickly made 
use of. These were, however, quelled before the 
expedition proceeded. It was the most formidable 
that had ever quitted the shores of Great Britain. 
The object, as stated by Lord Castlereagh, was to 
make a diversion in favour of Austria; and the in- 
structions to Lord Chatham were to destroy the 
naval establishments of Flushing and Antwerp, 
and render the Scheldt no longer navigable for 
ships of war. 

The armament consisted of thirty-seven sail of 
the line, twenty-four frigates, two vessels of fifty 
guns, three of forty-four ; thirty-one sloops, five 
bomb-vessels, twenty-three gun-brigs, thirty-nine 
thousand troops, and seven lieutenant-generals. 
They departed on the 28th of July ; and on the 
23rd of December the remains of the army re- 
turned, after evacuating the island ofWalcheren. 
It appeared by the return that sixty officers and 
three thousand nine hundred men, exclusive of 
those killed by the enemy, had died before the 1st 
of February, 1810 ; and on that day two hundred 
and seventeen officers and eleven thousand two 
hundred and ninety-six men were reported sick.* 
The delay before Flushing was such that the 

possessed a charm in the mind of the King. Ilis conduct was severely 
censured by Mr. Whitbread and other members of the House of Com- 
mons. — Pur. Debutes, vol. xvi. pp. 0, 9, 10, 11, 17. 

* The author got the following account from the physician (Dr. 
Nolson) who attended his brother when attacked by fever. He was on 
the walls when the British first appeared before Flushing. Some in- 
fantry approached the gate where he stood, and fired at the French. 
The sentries tried in vain to draw up the bridge and let fall the gates — 
the chains were broken or out of order. The inhabitants fled from the 
walls, crying out that the town was taken, and Nolson fled with them. 


loud Chatham's private [chap. xi. 

French had time to arm every post ; and all 
attempts on the fleet and arsenals were declared, 
by the unanimous opinion of all the lieutenant- 
generals on the 27th of August, to be impracti- 
cable, and were of necessity abandoned ; notwith- 
standing which the Ministers, as if to give a pre- 
tence for the expedition, retained possession of 
this unwholesome island for a period nearly of 
four months. In these insular parts of Holland 
there exists a periodical fever and ague,* that, be- 
gins in August and ends in November, most dan- 
gerous in its nature, and generally fatal in its 
consequence, leaving behind seeds of a most pain- 
ful disorder, which often affects the sufferer for 
the remainder of his days. 

At this unprecedented calamity, and the dis- 
grace and loss consequent thereon, the people 
were justly dissatisfied, and called for inquiry ; 
but the King, who had privately received a nar- 
rative of the events from Lord Chatham, was 
averse to any, and in his answer to the city of 
London, stated that he did not think it necessary 
to institute one ; but on the 26th of January, 
1810, the House of Commons agreed to a motion 
of Lord Porchester's, for the appointment of a 
committee of the whole House to inquire into the 
policy and conduct of the expedition to the 
Scheldt. It was carried only by a majority of 
nine ; the numbers being 195 to 186. The com- 
mittee and examination of witnesses lasted till the 

In a grove, at some distance, there was a party of cavalry, and if they 
had advanced, all could have entered and held the gate till reinforce- 
ments had arrived. But, to the surprise of the French, the signal to re- 
tire was sounded, and the British retreated. The French then got a 
piece of artillery on the walls, and killed several of our men. Baron 
de llottenburgh was the officer who ordered them to retreat; thus the 
town was lost and thousands of lives were sacrificed. Such are the 
chances in military operations. 

* When Colonel Pack's regiment (the 71st.) ordered arms after 
marching into Middleburg, the author saw a number of the men fall from 
the ranks struck with the fever and ague. 


30th of March. " Resolutions were then pro- 
posed, which condemned the advisers of so ill- 
judged an enterprise ; but they were lost by a 
majority of 48 ; 275 voting to acquit the Ministers 
and 227 against them. Mr. Grattan, who had 
supported the inquiry, spoke and voted for these 
resolutions, and concluded by saying that the 
House had lately censured Lord Chatham for an 
attempt to set aside the responsibility of ministers, 
let it then take care that its conduct, on this oc- 
casion, does not tend to establish their impunity/' 
This was exactly what occurred. 

On Lord Castlereagh the blame had chiefly 
fallen, he had been the actor and adviser of this 
national calamity ; fostered, transplanted, and 
promoted by England, he had now repaid the ob- 
ligation, and employed as the author of ruin in 
one country, he proved the instrument of defeat 
and disgrace in the other. Mr. Perceval stoutly 
defended him, and partook in the labours of the 
defence as he had in the undertaking. Mr. Can- 
ning professed to share the blame, and justified 
the measure and conduct of Lord Castlereagh, 
although he was the person, who, in April preced- 
ing, had gone to the Duke of Portland to com- 
plain of his colleague, and declared that the noble 
lord was not fit for his office, and was incompetent 
to the situation, notwithstanding which, he allow- 
ed him to direct the expedition — and when it 
failed he justified him — and, when he came to 
speak on it, he offered, for such conduct, no apo- 
logy.* Ministers, however, were not satisfied 
with this vote of acquittal — they required more — 
they asked for approbation, and, accordingly, 

* He was severely reproved for this by Mr. Whitbread. The truth 
was, that the quarrel was a mere contest for place. Both of the parties 
lost office, but Lord Castlereagh showed more dexterity ; for he had the 
address, not only to get back into power, but to get into Mr. Canning's 
situation, — the Secretaryship for Foreign Affairs. 



General Crauford proposed a resolution declaring 
that the House approved of the retention of the 
Island of Walcberen, and this horrid and criminal 
vote was carried by 255 to 232. Thus, the people 
were made the victims of their virtuous feelings, 
and were taught that the wiser course would have 
been, to have remained silent and indifferent, and 
to have allowed the calamities of the nation to pass 
by unheeded and unlamented, for, when they 
asked for a vote of censure, Parliament answered 
them by a vote of approbation. That vote, how- 
ever, decided the fate of the House of Commons, 
it sealed its doom and sunk its character, and the 
assembly never after rose in the esteem of the 
people. By this vote, as well as the one on the 
Duke of York's affair, it had proclaimed itself a 
miserable body — insensible to the wrongs of the 
country — excusing its disasters — rejoicing at its 
degradation — incapable of feeling what every- 
body else felt, and making the last sad grievance 
of the country — the Parliament. At this period 
they were on the eve of a war with America, at 
war witli Russia, and at w r ar with every nation in 
Europe, except Sweden, and with a public debt 
of eight hundred millions. One thing, however, 
was wanting to proclaim to mankind their folly, 
their ignorance, and their baseness, greater than 
either; to complete their losses, and put the sum 
to their disgrace, nothing but a jubilee was want- 
ing, and public rejoicing at the fiftieth anniversary 
of a reign of debt, defeat, and disgrace — a reign 
of temerity, cupidity, and incapacity — this strange 
phenomenon occurred, and mankind heard with 
astonishment, the day of England's thanksgiving. 

The secret was, that the King had become 
everything; the power of the Crown had so in- 
creased, that its influence pervaded every part of 
the constitution, — the mere disbursement of fifty 



millions of annual expenditure was of itself suffi- 
cient to taint and corrupt the nation. In the former 
war, the Crown had been weakened, and at the end 
of the American contest the King must have com- 
promised, for he was defeated, and would have 
yielded if the opposition had stood firm ; but he 
saved himself by the coalition he made with Mr. 
Pitt. The result of the present war was different, 
it made the Crown everything, and gave to the 
King the two Houses of Parliament. Thus he 
gained a victory over the constitution, and realized 
the saying of Lord Thurlow, " that if the King- 
stood at the back of any minister, that minister 
would have the House of Commons ;" fortunately 
George III. was not a military man, otherwise he 
might have become absolute, for the public would 
not have stood by the House of Commons — that 
was no longer the standard round which they 
would have rallied — it had degenerated and 
become a court aristocracy, and was merely an 
instrument in the hands of the King, and the 
public would not have risen against the King, who 
had made the Parliament his instrument, but 
against the instrument itself. In fine, this was 
not a natural or a gradual decline, but a radical 
and staminal depravity in the principle of govern- 
ment, and which could only be cured or corrected 
by reform, and such was the opinion of Mr. Grat- 
tan, as will appear from his letter on the subject of 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

April 3rd, 1800. 

My dear M'Can, — I got your letter, and thank you. 
What you mention regarding Hartley frightens me. I 
hope, however, he is quite recovered. I have brought in 
the Debtors' Bill ; it has been once read, and an order has 
been made to print it. I hope it may pass ; it is nearly 
the same as that which passed some years ago. 



We have a vacation for twelve days ; of which I am glad, 
as the House tires me much. I don't think we shall 
have a great deal to do after the recess. I find the new 
Paving Bill excites discontent, at least in some individuals; 
I presented two petitions against it. The removal of the 
Duke of York was a necessary measure. 

The minority was so large, and the people so offended, 
that he could not have continued at the head of the army. 
I intended to have spoken, but missed the opportunity ; 
and when the close came on, there were so many who 
wished to speak, that I did not like to force myself on the 
House, already inattentive. I voted against him. — Yours 

H. G. 

Same to Same. 

London, 11th April, 1809. 

My dear M'Can, — I thank you for your letter. I hope 
you find your time now your own, and that you will accom- 
plish your great designs with respect to^your sea-farm. # 
As your house is moored in the strand, you ought to have 
a boat in your parlour, for the accommodation of your 
friends if you should be surprised by the tide. 

I got your second letter this moment regarding M'Der- 
mot ; but there will be no individual specified in the 
insolvents. Such a list would not be admitted : however, 
if admitted, he shall (as far as can be with propriety) be 
attended to. The bill is to be read a second time to-day. 
How are all our friends? How is Hartley ? as he was not 
very well when you wrote to me some time ago. Henry 
says you don't write to him. How is Forbes ? has he 
gotten a bag ? does he attend the Courts constantly ? does 
he rise betimes, or is he in bed at ten as usual ? I don't 
hear any news, except that which you must know already, 
and which is not good. The citizens have no right to be 
offended with me ; if they are I cannot help it. — Ever 

Same to Same. 

Eastbourne, October 5th, 1809. 
My dear M'Can,— I mentioned in my letter that the 
* His place at Sandymount was invaded by the sea at high tides. 



boys were returned :* one of them ill; but now i veil. I 
was uneasy about them, and with reason. 

You see in the paper the offer to the Opposition,^ and 
the changes in the Ministry. How far, or how long, the 
Ministry as now constituted will be able to go on, 'tis not 
easy to say ; but I should think it will be difficult for them 
to go through the session. I rather like this place, — 'tis 
on the sea, a fine country, though not beautiful. Mrs. 
Grattan 's better : the rest well. — Yours ever, 

II. G. 

Mr. Grattan's remarks on the subject of the 
Union are worth recording. His opinions never 
varied, and will be alluded to in a subsequent 
part. Some discrepancy having appeared to the 
author in the various calculations made respecting 
the trade of Ireland before and after the Union, he 
applied to Mr. Grattan to explain it, and hence 
the following letters were written. The numerous 
statements on this subject are fallacious in the ex- 
treme, particularly among those who of late have 
been employed and paid to write in support of the 
Union. Time and facts will expose these errors ; 
but unfortunately they are proved by the poverty 
and decay of the wholesome trade and manufac- 
tures of Ireland, and the backward state of that 

* My brother and I had gone on the Walchcren expedition; he was 
attacked with fever and ague, and was saved by not going- to an English 
doctor. A number of persons died in consequence of their unwilling- 
ness to call in foreign physicians. 

f The death of the Duke of Portland did not make any material 
change in the administration. Lord Wellesley accepted office as Secre- 
tary for Foreign Affairs ; his brother, Wellesley Pole, as Secretary for 
Ireland, in place of Mr. Dundas; and Mr. Wilson Croker, as Secretary 
to the Admiralty in place of Mr. W. Pole — thus were his services in the 
Duke of York's affair rewarded. Mr. Perceval wrote, in the month of 
September, to Lord Grenville and Lord Grey, with a view to form an 
extended and combined administration. lie staled that no idea existed 
in his, or Lord Liverpool's mind, of the necessity of any dereliction of 
public principle on eillter side. An offer to form such a coalition was 
naturally declined by persons who retained a regard for public opinion 
and consistent conduct. Lord Grenville came to town on the subject, 
but Lord Grey, very properly, would not leave Northumberland on such 
an invitation, 



country in comparison with every other on the 
face of the globe. 

Mr. Grattan to Henry Grattan. 

Brighton, December 3, 1809. 
My dear Henry, — In James's letter he said as fol- 
lows : — That the Union promised, but did not give, any 
new settlers in Ireland, with their capitals ; nor any new 
branches of commerce ; nor any new markets : on the con- 
trary, that England got a greater possession of our markets, 
and we, in proportion, a lesser, than formerly. The first 
part of the sentence is true ; the latter (which I have inter- 
lined), though true, is not the whole truth ; for though she 
has gotten a greater proportion of our markets, we have 
gotten a greater proportion of hers ; but the main assertion 
is perfectly true, — the Union has not given us new capital 
or new trade; that export trade (that is to say, the bene- 
ficial trade of the country) is the old trade of Ireland, in- 
creasing from its nature, not from the Union. I have 
looked over the particulars, and I don't see any article of 
it that can be attributed to the Union, except a few 
thousand pounds of wine, and perhaps drapery; something 
amounting to a few thousand pounds imported into Eng- 
land since the Union, which could not be imported before. 
The export trade that Ireland has is a legacy of the Irish 
Parliament ; it is the export of linen and of provisions. 
You will observe there are two valuations of exports and 
imports ; one called official, the other called real or current 
price. The first is the valuation made at the Custom- 
House many years ago; but you should know that the 
valuation called current price, or real value, made in Ire- 
land, differs from the valuation made in England. The 
Irish valuation is an increase of above double; the English 
not half so much. The Irish Custom-House values the 
exportation of Ireland in 1809 according to real value, 
12,000,000/.; the official value is 5,900,000/.— Yours, 

H. G. 

Same to Same. 

Brighton, December 6th, 1809. 
My dear Henry, — With regard to Cobbett, it is not 
the Parliamentary debates, but the Parliamentary history. 
Don't get the book till I write again, James's paper is an 



extract from the public accounts, and can't be averred 
against. Take care of it, and send it back when you have 
done with it. The growth of the export trade of Ireland 
is what it there appears to be : Newenham is no authority 
against a public account. 

Official Value. 

In 1785 our exports were £3,779,570 

In 1792 our exports were 5,387,760 

Increase in 7 years as above £1,608,190 

Or near one half. 

In 1803 the exports were £5,090,393 

In 1809 the exports were 5,922,591 

Increase in 7 years since the Union . . . £832,198 
Less than one-sixth. 

The old export trade, I think you call it so, appears as 
above to have been — 

In 1792 £5,387,760 

Our export in 1809 5,922,591 

Increase in 17 years £534,831 

Or about one-ninth. 

Take the trade at the real value, and the proportion will 
be the same. Observe, if the real value of our exports was 
in 1809 equal to 12,597,517/., the real value of our exports 
in 1792, at the market rateage, was 11,000,000/., and 
above it. From this it follows that the export trade, since 
the Union, has not kept up its proportional increase. The 
cause of your mistake with regard to the export and import 
is this, — you suppose the official to be the real value. Now 
the real value of the export is more than double that of the 
official value ; and the real value of the import is only a 
fifth more, or thereabouts. 

For example, the exportation of the year 1809 appears 
to be — 

vol. v. 

D D 


In real value £12,597,517 

The import trade, according to the rateage of 

20 per cent., about 9,500,000 

Balance in favour of our export ..... £3,000,000 

'Tis very probable, as I mentioned in my last letter, that 
the officer at the Custom-House overvalues the exports, and 
that the imports are considerably undervalued ; but you 
can't rectify either; still less can you argue against both. 
It would not be creditable to make any erroneous con- 
cession in favour of the Union, or any erroneous charge to 
its prejudice. The great fact regarding the trade of Ire- 
land on the subject of the Union is, she has gotten no new 
branch of trade. Her export trade has not increased in a 
greater proportion since the Union than before. The 
same articles it may be said were not of the same value 
seventeen years ago — negatur— -they were of the same 
value, but the money has changed its value, and is re- 
duced. — Yours ever, 

H. G. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. Hardy. 

5, Bolton Row, London, February 15, 1810. 
My dear Hardy, — I got your letter, and shall certainly 
consider the subject of it. I hope your health is tolerably 
good ; a gouty man is never very well or very ill. The 
Ministry continue : how long they will do so 'tis difficult 
to say ; but there is an inquiry , # which you will perceive to 
be very long, and likely to be longer. What has appeared 
is certainly not in favour of the administration ; but whether 
it will turn them out is doubtful. They want speakers, 
and they want what is more material to them, — numbers ; 
and yet I don't hear of any stir to dismiss them. The 
power of the Crown is such as can support almost whom- 
ever the King pleases. How goes on your book ? when 
shall it appear? You never write one word of news; 
therefore you should have none. Is there any truth about 
the removing of regiments or reducing our troops? What 

* The inquiry into the policy and conduct of the expedition to the 
Scheldt : it began the 2nd of February, and lasted to the 30th of 



measures do you understand are intended? What do the 
Catholics intend ? 

Remember to our friends, the few that are alive.* — 
Yours most truly, 

H. Grattan. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

Feb. 19th, 1810. 

My dear M'Can, — I have, in consequence of your letter 
and of Mrs. Byrne's relationship, attended much to Hay.f 
I heard him at large, and often. I got the newspaper with 
the Catholic resolutions : their resolutions I read. I am 
glad they did not reflect on Lord Grenville.J 

I will read the Hibernian on the Veto, and thank you 
much for the papers. 

The business of the inquiry suspends other Parliamentary 
subjects. Pending the inquiry the Ministers must remain, 
I should think ; but after, it is thought by many, they will 
go out. 

Ponsonby has spoken this session extremely well. 

I am glad Day§ is well : I was uneasy about him. Let 
me know what was the cause of his fall; whether it was 
anything of a paralytic nature. What are the feelings of 
the Catholics regarding Lord Grenville's letter ? — Yours 

H. Grattan. 
Mr. Grattan to Mr. Berwick. 

London, April 9th, 1810. 
My dear Dr. Berwick, — I beg you will mention to 
Matthew |! the state of politics here, — that there has been 

* lie alludes to the death of his friend and neighbour, Lord Powers • 
court. On the 20th of July preceding, he wrote — "Lord Powerscourt 
died yesterday, of a fortnight's illness, which appeared to be dangerous 
the last week, and proved gout on the kidneys. He is a great loss, pub- 
lic and private ; an honest, independent man, who spent a large fortune 
in his own country." It was Lord Powerscourt who moved the amend- 
ment at the Union, denying the right of the Legislature to part with 
the constitution of the country. The above is a just tribute to his 

f Secretary to the Catholics, a well-meaning person ; very busy, 
always in a bustle, and extremely loquacious. 

X He had addressed a strong letter to Lord Fingall, on the subject of 
the veto. He looked to the Chancellorship of Oxford, and was soon 
after elected. 

§ Judge Day, his earliest and most attached friend. — See ante, vol. i. 
|| The old gardener at Esker. 

D D 2 




a riot about sending Sir Francis Burdett to the Tower, 
but that this morning he has been sent there. Tell him, if 
he were Minister, he would never have gotten himself into 
such an embarrassment; ask him what he thinks with re- 
spect to the Catholics ; and let me have his sentiments on 
these subjects. A bad- time. Who is the Dean of St. 
Patrick's ? # Your friend Tegartf is well : I see him often. 
Is your health good ? Write me something regarding Ire- 
land, besides Matthew's sentiments. 

I don't think the Ministry will stir immediately ; they 
will probably first try to get recruits. How are your 
neighbours ? Remember me to Mrs. Vesey. Best regards 
to Mrs. B. and children. — Yours truly, 

H. G. 

Sir Francis Burdett occupied for a long time the 
attention of the English people, and enjoyed their 
approbation. His political life was chequered and 
singular, — the reverse at the close of what it was 
in the beginning. He commenced more than a 
Whig ; he ended more than a Tory. At the out- 
set he was violent in favour of the English people 
and of their liberties — of the Irish " Helots " and 
their rights ; but at the close of his life he became 
hostile to both, and particularly inveterate against 
the latter. On the occasion above alluded to, he 
had published in " Cobbett's Register" a letter 
to his constituents of Westminster, and a long 
argument on the subject of Mr. Gale Jones's im- 
prisonment by the House of Commons, the power 
and authority of which body he there denied. This 
was voted a breach of privilege; and on the mo- 
tion of Sir Thomas Lethbridge, his commitment 
to the Tower was carried by 190 to 152. Mr. 
Grattan strongly opposed it, and voted against the 
motion. He said — " He lamented the subject had 

* Mr. Ponsonby, afterwards Bishop of Deny, (an excellent man) ex- 
pected to be appointed. 

f The well known Tegart of Pall Mall, a friend of Lord Moira and 
the Prince. 



oeen brought before Parliament. It was a contest 
in which victory would be without glory, and in 
which defeat must be followed by disgrace ; and 
when the House went to hunt out for questions of 
privilege, they diminished their own dignity. 
They might depend on it, the result of the contest 
would not tend to their satisfaction. Had they 
forgotten Wilkes's case ? Did they not know that 
it ended in his being elected for Middlesex, and 
nominated Chamberlain of the City of London, 
and that Parliament was obliged to shrink from 
the contest ? In this battle between the giant and 
the dwarf, the giant diminished in size and the 
dwarf magnified. The people of England, with 
their characteristic generosity, would range them- 
selves on the weaker side, and oppose the shield 
of their compassion against the arm of power." 
Sir Francis then addressed a letter to the Speaker, 
denying the validity of his warrant: he bade him 
defiance, and turned his officer out of his house. 
There he entrenched himself from the 5th to the 
0th of April. The people took his part, and con- 
siderable rioting ensued. The houses of the 
Ministers were attacked ; the military were called 
out ; several persons were wounded, and some 
lives were lost. His house in Piccadilly presented 
a singular appearance.* The military having in- 
terfered, Sir Francis applied to the civil power, 
and a party of peace officers were sent to protect 
him. A party of military! were sent to watch 
him; and the mob compelled all who passed by to 
salute him. The Serjeant-at-Arms thought it 
necessary to get the Attorney-General's (Gibbs) 

* The author was residing next street to Sir Francis. 

f The Duke of Cumberland's Regiment (the loth Hussars) was said 
to be particularly active and inimical to the people : they were, in con- 
sequence, sent from town, in order to prevent further collision. The 
author was returning from the Opera, when one man was shot, and 
another cut down, and he fortunately escaped with his life. 


opinion as to his right to break open the door, and 
he demanded a force of 300 infantry and 500 
cavalry as an escort. At length an entrance was 
effected, and Sir Francis was lodged in the Tower, 
where he remained until Parliament was pro- 
rogued. Meantime, he served the Speaker with 
notice of an action for trespass and false imprison- 

As a public character, Sir Francis excited con- 
siderable interest, — more at the commencement 
of his career than at the close. His appearance 
was that of a gentleman, and not in the least that 
of a tribune ; he had a good figure, a graceful air, 
and a pleasing tone of voice ; he was not an elo- 
quent, but he was an agreeable speaker ; he had 
a fine Parliamentary pathos, an austere gravity, 
and a monitorial manner which was not to be 
found in the qualities of a demagogue. No man 
appeared less spoiled than he was by the frequent 
practice of addressing public meetings. He had, 
however, contracted the bad habit of attacking in- 
dividuals in their absence ; and this, perhaps, was 
the only vulgar error he had suffered himself to 
fall into. He assailed Mr. Canning and Mr. 
Tierney, but was worsted in both encounters, par- 
ticularly in the latter. His style of address was 
fine, and was above his matter ; for he did not 
argue well, though he remembered well and re- 
plied well to what was said ; and though not in a 
regular fire, yet in good strong separate sentences. 
He never said anything that proved him to be a 
man of a strong mind ; and though a prominent 
advocate for liberty, and a professed friend of the 
people, yet he showed that he was incapable of 
taking the lead ; and if he had been put at their 
head, he would have been displaced within half 
an hour. 

His doctrines as a politician were strangely in- 



consistent and deficient. The principles he ad- 
vanced were not calculated for any sort of govern- 
ment ; they were the very worst possible. He 
united the wildest spirit of democracy with a tame 
submission to royalty, and showed that he was 
exactly the man who would support a despotism. 
His principles that were not prerogative, were 
anarchic ; he not only would have had vote by 
ballot, but annual parliaments and universal 
suffrage, — i. e., chaos: servants — soldiers — all 
were to vote. 

Thus, his proposition for reform would have 
done great mischief ; the plan would have in- 
creased the power of the Crown, instead of di- 
minishing it ; for he would have restored to the 
King his old prerogative, under the idea that the 
King would give up his influence ; but the King 
would not have done any such thing; he would 
have kept his modern influence, and would have 
added to it his old prerogative. 

The letter he wrote on the privilege of Parlia- 
ment showed an ignorance of the constitution ; it 
was not written by a man who was a lawyer, but 
by one who wished to be thought a lawyer. 
When he abandoned his early friends, and deserted 
his early principles, he inflicted a deep wound on 
the character of public men. He taught the peo- 
ple to believe that no confidence could be placed 
in them, that no consistency was required from 
them, that there was no distinction of party in the 
State ; and that, notwithstanding their declared 
opinions, unequivocal assurances, and solemn pro- 
testations, politicians were at best only speculators 
or impostors, and that they could play the part 
of the renegade without the loss of reputation. 
His doctrines and his practice would have unseated 
the House of Hanover, and have subverted the 
British constitution. 


In the Tower of London his career terminated ; 
the people had prepared for him an ovation ; 
they were to lead away their injured captive in 
pride and triumph, and never doubted that he 
would have headed their procession ; but their 
favourite disappointed them, and stole away from 
his party by water. At length some men began 
to doubt his courage, others his principles, and 
many his judgment : the two last were right; for 
when such a character becomes prudent, he is 





Irish tithes. — Mr. Grattan brings on the Catholic question in 1810. — 
Domestic nomination of Catholic bishops disregarded by ministers.— 
Mr. Grattan complains of his absence from Ireland. — Injury from 
absenteeism. — His life in London. — Visits to llichmond to Mr. 
Sharp. — Samuel Rogers. — Cumberland. — Interesting conversation. — 
Anecdote of Kean and Miss O'Neill. — Leadership of the opposition 
offered to Tierney, accepted by Ponsonby. — Distress of Ireland. — 
Resolutions against the Union. — Public meeting and petitions against. 
— Mr. Grattan's answer and opinion thereon. — Banks's charge that 
Ireland was a burthen to England. — Foster's spirited reply. — Illness 
of George III. — Conduct of Mr. Perceval. — Mr. Grattan's letter. — 
Opposes the restrictions on the Regency. — Mr. Ponsonby 's able 
speech. — Defeat of ministers on the household. — Mr. Grattan's 
speech. — Prince accepts the office. — Lord Grenville, auditor of the 
exchequer, refuses to issue the public money. — Unconstitutional 
power assumed by the Commons. — Conduct of Sheridan. — Court 
intrigues. — Arrangement of the new ministry. — Lord Grenville and 
Lord Grey dissatisfied. — The No-Popery administration continued. — 
Mr. Grattan disclaims a spurious reply to Flood. — Letters to M'Can. 
— Letter on the Irish finances. — Sir John Newport's motion. — Mr. 
Grattan's letter on reform. — On the interchange of militia. — Letters to 
James Grattan, in Sicily, on public affairs. 

In the month of April, 1810, Mr. Henry Panic! 1 
proposed that a committee of the House of Com- 
mons should be appointed to inquire into the 
mode of paying tithes in Ireland. Mr. Grattan 
spoke in favour of this motion, and strongly sup- 
ported it, but it was rejected by G9 to 48. On the 
18th of May he renewed the motion respecting 
the Catholics, whose petition he had presented on 
the 27th of February ; on which occasion he 
alluded to the Veto, declaring "that he would 
not enter into the subject ; whether he had mis- 
informed the House, or the Catholics had been 
guilty of retractation, was a question he would 
never agitate, it being his fixed principle never to 
defend himself at the expense of his country ; 
but he would submit to the House the danger of a 
foreign influence, and the necessity of securing 
the country against a French nomination of the 

410 MR. grattan's motion [chap. XII. 

Irish Catholic bishops." Mr. Plowden, in his 
history, represents Mr. Grattan as saying that his 
opinion was in favour of a Veto, but this was a 
mistake: no such statement appears in the par- 
liamentary debates, nor in the speeches on the 
subject published by authority. 

It happened that at this moment the Catholics 
were growing discontented ; they had been dis- 
appointed. From the Whigs they expected a great 
deal, and got little. General distrust was the 
result, and gave rise to a dissatisfied spirit. Mr. 
Grattan's sentiments and expressions were mis- 
represented ; and the angry feeling which had 
arisen in 1807 on the subject of the insurrection 
bills, was now fast spreading, and threatened to 
break out, as it did a few years afterwards, when 
it led to the withdrawing the Catholic petition 
from him, and entrusting it to another, Such 
changes must ever attend upon politics ; it is 
the fate of public men to experience them ; but it 
is not always their good fortune to bear them 
(as he did) with serenity. 

The question came forward under a new shape, 
and domestic nomination was the proposal sub- 
stituted in place of the Veto. Mr. Grattan ob- 
served that domestic nomination obtained by 
consent of the Pope, whether placed in the 
chapter or the Catholic bishops, would not affect 
the Pope's authority of investiture of institution, 
or of any spiritual functions. This proposition 
was not, however, received by the House much 
better than the Veto had been ; the question was 
adjourned, the debate renewed on the 25th, and 
again adjourned to the 1st June, when Mr. 
Grattan, in reply, stated the resolutions of the 
Catholic bishops, in which they say they are ready 
to yield for the security of the state everything 
which does not affect the rights or integrity of 
their church. But though this offer was fair, and 



was all that could be required, the Government 
did not think fit to close with them on the subject, 
and thereby put an end to this lengthened and 
dangerous contest. 

Mr. Ponsonby entered into a statement of his 
conduct on the question of the Veto, and the 
letters and communications with Dr. Milner, of 
last session, and showed that he had not gone be- 
yond the instructions he received, or the offers that 
had then been made. Mr. Grattan seems to have 
made a very able reply* on this occasion ; but on 
a division the number for going into a committee 
was only 109, and against it, 213, — majority 
against the Catholics, 104. 

Mr. Grattan to Mb. M'Can. 

London, June 11th, 1810. 

My dear M'Can, — I shall send you the speeches*)* as 
published ; they are taken in substance ; the reply is only 
the substance of what I said. The introductory speech is 
near the original speech. 

I shall see you in July, and you must spend some time 
at Tinnehinch. We go to Tunbridge on Tuesday, and 
I shall leave it in a month, and the ladies will go to the 

Write me the news of Dublin. Direct to me at Tun- 
bridge Wells, England. 1 long very much to see my 
friends in Ireland, and next year I shall spend most of my 
time there. I am tired of the expense of England, and 
the vagabond life which I am obliged to lead. The re- 
mainder of my life shall be spent, a few months excepted, 
in Ireland. 

I have got an insolvent bill for the Irish debtors ; but it 
could not go as far as they wished, nor has it passed as 
soon as I could desire. 

I carried it up to the Lords one fortnight ago: it 
received the royal assent on Saturday. Mrs. G. is much 

* Sir James Mackintosh said that the best view of the argument on the 
Catholic subject was presented by a perusal of Lord Grenville's speech 
in 1808, in conjunction with that of Mr. Grattan in 1810. — Year 1819 
in the 2nd vol. Mackintosh's Memoirs. 

f The speeches in the Lords and Commons on the debate, were pub- 
lished, by authority, in one vol. 8vo. 



better. The rest well, — all beg to be remembered to you. 
—Yours, H. G. 

The " vagabond" or erratic life that Mr. Grat- 
tan complains of, was one of the consequences of 
the Union. The Irish, who were migratory 
through habit, were now rendered more so by 
necessity. The great landed proprietors of the 
country being English, were absentees, and the 
next class of society, in a great degree followed 
their example. The country, degraded from the 
dignity of a nation, and sunk in its own esteem, 
was subject to the evils that follow from ser- 
vility, or fashion, or taste, or necessity. Thus 
absenteeism increased more and more every day, 
and, like a cancer, corroded the state, and con- 
sumed its substance, The English liked the 
system, as it brought them money and business, 
promoted their manufactures, and threw back 
those of their former rival ; they considered their 
estates sufficiently secure, notwithstanding the 
absence of those who had so long acted the part 
of sentinels, and stood guard to protect British 
possessions from the evils that necessarily ensue 
where hordes of tenants are left unaided and un- 
instructed, and estates* unvisited and unimproved. 
The injury thereby done to the country arose to 
such a height that she seemed fast recurring to 
the state Swift had represented her in his time, 
and to be in the possession, as well as the occu- 
pation, of a frieze-coated population, when, for an 
entire day, the traveller might pass through 
various parts of Ireland without f beholding the 

* The Bath estates, situate in the county of Monaghan, are reputed 
to comprise 60,000 Irish acres, the Marquis, who holds half, has no 
residence, and was never known to come there ; the other half has lat- 
terly rather improved ; on it are supposed to be 4,000 tenants and 
20,000 inhabitants — it presents a beggarly miserable appearance to the 

t The Irish aristocracy were forced to submit to severe and bitter 
reproofs even from the drollest of the English members. In the debate 
February 22nd, 1810, Mr. Fuller said, "Let the great men of the 




abode of a single resident gentleman. This 
national calamity gave rise to a matter of serious 
apprehension, and many began to fear that the 
words of an ancient statesman would be realized, 
and the o-oods of the absent and indifferent would 
at length become the property of the enterprising 
and the present. 

No person was more alive to a sense of the 
evils of absenteeism than Mr. Grattan, and no- 
body deprecated them more strongly : he felt the 
injury, and beheld the poverty it produced ; he 
was aware how difficult it was for one country to 
hold another whose people she had robbed of their 
property, and then proscribed on account of their 
religion. Residence, care, attention, — a fostering 
hand, a benevolent heart, and a gentle tongue, he 
conceived to be the indispensable requisites for 
the peace and prosperity of Ireland, and the con- 
tinuance of her alliance with Great Britain. 

But Mr. Grattan was scarcely entitled to com- 
plain of the annual absence of six months from 
Ireland, and had less reason to be dissatisfied 
than any of the hundred Irish members ; for if 
personal considerations were considered, the 
result of the Union had been to him most grati- 
fying, as he had the satisfaction of beholding his 
fame, his principles, and the whole tenor of his 
life, not only vindicated, but triumphant. He 
rose, while those who had opposed him, and 
aspersed him, and had been set on to libel him 
and his country, sunk into oblivion, and were 
abandoned by the very party who had instigated 
them. Even Mr. Canning, who, in 1799, had been 
the encomiast of Dr. Duigenan, now enjoined 
silence, and seemed pleased at the facetious ap- 
pellation of " the muzzled doctor,' 1 — a title which 

country go home, and in place cf spending their money here, let them 
regulate their own tenantry and their estates and not hear of them only 
Xhrough those secondary persons whom they employ." 



was conferred upon him in consequence of the 
unwilling taciturnity he was obliged to observe 
in Parliament. Neither had the habits of public 
business rendered Mr. Grattan averse to the en- 
joyments of the society he met with in London. 
After his successful speech in 1805, he was 
courted and invited by the leading men of both 
parties. Holland House, Spencer* House, De- 
vonshire House, and Buckingham^ House, fur- 
nished a number of talented individuals, whose 
company he relished, and who, in return, seemed 
pleased and gladdened by his society ; yet the 
love of home was dear to him, and absence from 
his country grew painful ; he ever bore in mind 
the words of his native poet — 

" Where'er I roam, whatever realms I see 
My heart untravell'd fondly turns to thee." 

His taste for the country was with him a passion, 
and governed all his movements. He loved the 
banks of the Thames, Richmond Hill, Twicken- 
ham, and the Duke of Buccleugh's meadows ; 
and Pope's Villa afforded him sauntering walks 
and delightful recreation ; and like a boy from 
school, he used, after a tedious, heavy debate, 
to boat up the Thames and walk beneath the lofty 
elms that adorn its banks, enjoying the melody 
of the birds and the sweetness of the fields and 
flowers. In the pursuit of these enjoyments he was 
not without companions, and even rivals. Samuel 

* The habit at Spencer-house was to break up at twelve o'clock ; 
Lady Spencer complained that Mr. Grattan's conversation inveigled her 
guests past the hour, and, tapping him on the shoulder, told him she 
would send for her night-cap. 

f The Marchioness of Buckingham was an Irishwoman and a Catho- 
lic ; when her husband was Lord-Lieutenant in Ireland, Mr. Grattan had 
violent political differences with him, but those disputes were now at an 
end, and she wished for reconciliation ; a large dinner party was therefore 
made, and Mr. Grattan was invited ; she was very anxious he should 
come, and waited at the landing-place on the stairs until she heard the 
servant announce his name; when she found he was inside her doors, 
she withdrew, saying that she was satisfied with her success. This cir- 
cumstance she related with great pleasure. 



Rogers, Horner,* Sharpe, and other friends, 
joined in his country excursions ; and to the place 
of the latter, near Boxhill, they used to repair, to 
hear the nightingales in that neighbourhood of 
talent and of beauty ; in the vicinity of the Beau- 
clerksf and the Locks, amidst the charming scenery 
of Norbury Park; — all these had their attrac- 
tions, yet they could not banish the affection for 
his valley of Tinnehinch, and its tranquil and 
sweet simplicity. 

In 1809, Mr. Grattan met Sir Arthur Pigott 
and Mr. Wilberforce at Eastbourn, and derived 
much pleasure from their society ; the sober, 
sound sense, and constitutional mind of the for- 
mer, and the calm, yet lively and varied conver- 
sation of the latter. In both there was much to 
instruct, to interest, and to please. 

Mr. Wilberforce lived surrounded with books 
and letters, and devoured every new production 
with the avidity of a boy. He knew nothing of 
Ireland ; but he was of use on the Catholic ques- 

* " Francis Horner to his Sister Ann (afterwards Mrs. Power.) 
My dear Nancy, — I have been passing Saturday and Sunday at Mr. 

Sharpe's, at Mickleham, with Mr. Grattan ; and it was a very agreeable 
excursion. I wen* and returned with Mr. Grattan, ^hese conversation 
about Ireland, and especially the past history of Ireland, as well as upon 
literature, is full of interest and genius. lie has been giving me to-day, 
as we came to town, the history of what was done at the famous period 
of 1782 ; and he made me acquainted with some parts of that great 
transaction, and particularly his own share in it, which I did not know 
before. This little excursion was on purpose to hear the nightingales, 
for he loves music like an Italian, and the country like a true-born Eng- 
lishman. Both beauties are in full perfection at Uedley, where there are 
more nightingales in chorus than are to be heard any where else. lie 
is full of English and Latin poetry, too, and deals very much in passages 
from both, when he is at his ease; which, with his ardour for Ireland, 
and his characteristic sketches of persons with whom he has acted in 
puDlic life, and a great deal of fun, and benevolence, and sense, above 
all things, make him a very entertaining companion. At the age of 
seventy, too, for I fear he is nearly as much, and with the veneration that 
belongs to his name from the figure he has made in our politics, it is 
impossible not to take a deep interest in one who renders himself so 
accessible and so instructive. — Yours, F. H." — Homer s Correspondence, 
vol. ii. 

* Three great beauties resided there, Mrs. Charles Lock, Mrs. Wil- 
liam Lock, and Mrs. Beauclerk. 


tion, and his support latterly gave it a character 
that was of service to the cause in England. 

Samuel Rogers* was at Tunbridge Wells in 
the autumn of 1810, and introduced Mr. Grattan 
to Cumberland, who then resided there. Books, 
plays, dramatic writers, the performers in the 
leading characters and popular parts, and their 
different style of acting, formed the chief sub- 
ject of conversation, which was thus rendered 
extremely interesting. Rogers seemed natural, 
simple, and just. Cumberland appeared rather 
fastidious. f Mr. Grattan had great relish for 
this society. He had been fond of the drama ; 
knew by heart most of the fine passages of the 
best dramatists, and had studied their plays, par- 
ticularly those of Shakspeare, with great atten- 
tion. He used to relate with singular precision 
the merits and defects of the different performers, 
from the times of GarrickJ, Mossop, and Barry, 
Mrs. Fitzhenry, and Miss Farren, down to those 
of Kemble, Kean§, Mrs. Siddons, and Miss 
O'Neill. || He would bring before his company this 

* The poet, a great admirer and friend of Mr. Grattan ; a charm- 
ing agreeable companion, replete with taste, anecdote, and information. 

f He said that Shakspeare had never written a perfect tragedy or 

J He admired Garrick in Richard the Third, said his acting was 
excellent. Kemble pleased him in it also. 

§ Kean had not acted Macbeth before he came to Ireland. When 
he was on a visit at Tinnehinch he studied the part, and got Mr. Grat- 
tan's opinion on several passages. Having made a party with Mrs. 
Kean and others to visit the waterfall, he galloped away and disap- 
peared ; at length he was found in one of the glades, the horse grazing 
beneath an oak, and Kean vociferating aloud, acting Macbeth with all 
his might. The week after he appeared in the character and was 
warmly received by the Dublin audience ; towards the close of the 
play his voice did not sustain itself, but Mr. Grattan liked him and 
thought he acted it well ; he said it was the most difficult part in all 

On another occasion I induced Mr. Berwick and him to see Miss 
O'Neill in Ophelia. We dined early, and as professed amateurs we took 
our places in the pit. She acted admirably, and at one of the most in- 
teresting scenes, I looked to my ttvo veterans to see how they liked 
her— I beheld them both in tears; it was unnecessary to ask their 
-opinion further. 

|| In Juliet he liked her extremely, he said the scene at the balcony sh 



galaxy of constellations, and pourtray their varied 
arts with great felicity. 

In the winter of this year he met, at Brighton, 
Lord John Townsend, Lord Aberdeen, Sir William 
Gell, Mr. Creevey, Mr. Tierney, Mr. Trevor, and 
Mr. Rogers ; they formed a very pleasant society, 
and all seemed charmed with Mr. Grattan. They 
liked his ways and the simplicity of his manner; 
and as they made it a rule to avoid politics, they 
were, in consequence, more agreeable and more 

The leadership of the Opposition is an arduous 
and difficult post. England requires not merely 
a man of great ability, but of extensive personal 
weight ; he must belong to the aristocracy as 
well as the people, and unite popular principles 
with aristocratic connections. 

The nobles of England do not always like a 
courtier, but they are sure to dislike a tribune, 
and are as desirous that the country should be pro- 
tected against the dangers of the democracy as 
against the influence of the Crown. The 
individual must know not only how to lead, but 
how to please his troops. He must be affable in 
manner, generous in disposition, have a ready hand, 
an open house, and a full purse. He must be 
grave and gay, lively and severe. He must have 
a good cook for the English members, fine words 
and fair promises for the Irish, and sober calcu- 
lations for the Scotch. He must sacrifice time, 
and temper, and fortune; his private affairs, his 
health, and his constitution. 

Such a person could lead the Opposition, and 
such a person was now sought for. The party 

acts admirably — the words, " It is the larky and not the nightingale," 
she speaks incomparably, nothing can be better, she is so natural and 
so unaffected, her tones are fine, her voice good, and a soft articulation, 
the reverse of Mrs. Siddons. I saw Mrs. Barry act Juliet, it was a 
famous part of hers, and she did not act it better than Miss O'Neill. 
VOL. V. E E 


looked to Mr. Tierney. He was a friend of the 
Prince,* and might have been of service ; he was 
a man of very considerable ability ; but neither 
his health nor his fortune enabled him to accept 
the situation. The request made to him by his 
friends was signed by Mr. Grattan, who gladly 
availed himself of the opportunity to manifest the 
sense he entertained of his merits and talent. Mr. 
Ponsonby, however, was selected. He had Eng- 
lish connection, high and powerful ; the amenity 
of his manners, and the gentleness of his dispo- 
sition, procured him numerous friends ; they per- 
suaded him to fill the office ; and he amply repaid 
the trust that was reposed in him; but in dis- 
charging this duty he sacrificed a great part of 
his fortune, and it may be said he also sacrificed 
his life. 

Lord Duncannon to Mr. Grattan. 

September 8th, 1810. 
Dear Sir, — In consequence of a letter from you, sent 
to me by Lord Holland, I beg to inform you that the 
letter, with the signatures, was sent to Mr. Tierney, and 
that I have received his answer. He feels himself much 
flattered by the proposition that has been made to him of 
taking a leading part in the House of Commons in the 
next session, in the necessary Parliamentary arrangements ; 
and agreeing entirely with those who signed it, and the 
sentiments expressed in it, he readily accedes to their 
wishes as far as the state of his health will allow him to 
do so. — Believe me, dear Sir, your very faithful and 
humble servant, 


The distress of Ireland, her inability to bear 
taxation, and her difficulty to keep pace with the 

* The Prince, in 1806, wanted Tierney to be Chancellor of the Irish 
Exchequer; Mr. Grattan and Lord Hutchinson went to Carllon House 
to oppose the appointment. For thus thwarting his job. the Prince for- 
gave Mr. Grattan, but not Lord Hutchinson. 



growing exigencies of the empire was increasing 
every year — and occasioned much discontent 
among her people ; at length, in the month of 
September, 1810, the Grand Jury of the city of 
Dublin began to assume a degree of courage, and 
to display some national feeling ; they passed 
several resolutions on the subject, in one of which 
they complained that " The Act of Union, after 
ten years' operation, instead of augmenting the 
comforts, prosperity, and happiness of the people, 
agreeably to the hopes held out by the advocates 
of that measure, had produced an accumulation of 
distress, and, instead of cementing, they feared 
that, if not repealed, it might endanger the con- 
nexion between the sister islands." 

The resolutions were presented to Mr. G rattan, 
and in his reply he stated, " That he was an 
enemy to the extinguishment of the Irish parlia- 
ment, and was a friend to its restoration/' 

In the same month a public meeting of the 
freemen and freeholders of Dublin was held at 
the Royal Exchange, at which resolutions of the 
same tendency were adopted, and petitions to the 
King and to Parliament were agreed on ; these 
were entrusted to Mr. Grattan, and were accom- 
panied with an address embodying their sub- 
stance, and calling upon him to support their 
prayer, to which he gave the following answer 

Gentlemen, — I have the honour to receive an address 
presented by your committee, and expressive of their 
wishes that I should present certain petitions, and support 
the repeal of an act entitled the Act of Union. And your 
committee adds, that it speaks with the authority of my 
constituents, the freemen and freeholders of the city of 

I beg to assure your committee, and through diem my 
much-beloved and much-respected constituents, that I shall 
accede to their proposition, I shall present their petitions, 

E E 2 


mr. grattan's opinion [chap. XII. 

and support the repeal of the Act of Union, with a decided 
attachment to our connexion with Great Britain, and to 
that harmony between the two countries without which the 
connexion cannot last. I do not impair either, as I appre- 
hend, when I assure you that I shall support the repeal of 
the Act of Union. You will please to observe that a pro- 
position of that sort in Parliament, to be either prudent or 
possible, must wait until it shall be called for and backed 
by the nation. When proposed, I shall then, as at all 
times I hope I shall, prove myself an Irishman, and that 
Irishman whose first and last passion was his native 

As to the personal approbation with which you have 
honoured me, it is, I must say, your kindness that over- 
rates my pretensions ; but I have one pretension which 
neither age, nor time, nor distance, can efface, — an attach- 
ment to Ireland unaltered and unalterable. 

I have the honour to be, with the greatest esteem, your 
very humble servant, 

Henry Grattan. 

Dublin, October 4th, 1810. 

On this important subject, which occupies the 
public mind so much at present, and has engrossed 
that of the masses of the people of Ireland,* Mr. 
Grattan's opinion, from first to last, did not un- 
dergo any change whatever; he always considered 
it a bad measure, very injurious to Ireland, and 
likely to prove dangerous to the connexion and 
fatal to the stability of the empire. He thought 
that the two countries would have gone on toge- 
ther much better if the .Act of Union had not 
taken place, and he feared that, if Buonaparte 
succeeded, the measure would greatly increase 
the danger of separation. 

He observed that the Union had not diminished 

* Meetings of large bodies (in some cases hundreds of thousands) 
have been held in various parts of Ireland in 1843-4, 5, and have all 
pronounced against the Union : it is calculated that upwards of four 
millions of the people of Ireland have declared in favour of a repeal of 
the Union — the aristocracy, however, hang back, as they always have. — 
Note by Editor. 




jobbing; that it had ruined the citizens of Dublin, 
impaired their fortunes, and destroyed their con- 
sequence ; that it had deprived all men (with the 
exception of a few)* of all political ardour, it had 
destroyed their ambition, and deprived the coun- 
try of a great portion of its talent, as few men 
could now get into Parliament. It served Pon- 
sonby and me, for we have risen and triumphed 
over our old enemies, the men who did all the mis- 
chief in Ireland ! As to her finances, the contri- 
bution is too great, the country cannot pay it. 
The absentee debt is two millions, and Ireland has 
not half a million for the current expenses. Add 
the absentee list, upwards of three millions; the im- 
perial contribution, six millions; and the absentee 
interest of the debt ; and compare them with the 
profits arising from the export trade, and these 
sink absolutely to nothing. 

Lord Castlereagh said at the Union that her 
expenses would be two millions in war and one 
million and a half in peace. See how his predic- 
tions have been verified ! If Government levy 
taxes at the rate and increase of the present")' 
year, they will create a rebellion ; the country 
cannot pay her proportion. I do not see how she 
can stand it. If the Union benefits the country, 
it will take a very long time. 

With respect to the Catholics, they now find 
the Ministers obstinate in their refusal, and they 
will not thank England for their rights. Lord 
Liverpool now says that he takes his stand, and 
thinks that enough has been granted to them, that 
he will abide by the settlement of the Union and 
will concede no more. Thus the Catholics find 
that, instead of the promises held out by Mr. Pitt 

* This applies most truly to the aristocracy of Ireland ; always a 
poor set except when forced on by the people as in '79 and '82. 
t Taxes to the amount of 320,000/. had been imposed. 


being fulfilled, the Union has proved not an 
advantage, but a bar to their claims. 

Such were the sentiments Mr. Grattan enter- 
tained on these subjects. A short while after, it 
happened that an additional duty upon tobacco in 
Ireland was passed in the House of Commons ; 
and on this occasion Mr. Bankes said that Ireland 
was becoming a burthen to England. This expres- 
sion greatly offended Mr. Grattan, and after the 
digression he observed that Mr. Bankes was 
wrong in saying that Ireland was a burthen to 
England, that he was not at all justified in saying 
so. Ireland is not to be considered a burthen 
because she contributes so much less this year 
than the last, but a benefit so far as she contri- 
butes the imperial quota ; in fact, it is too large, 
and she cannot pay it, but that is no proof 
that she is a burthen. Mr. Foster was greatly 
roused at this unlucky phrase ; he displayed 
much national ardour and strong Irish feeling ; 
and in his reply to Mr. Bankes he said that the 
Union was forced upon Ireland, that she had not 
asked for it, and with great indignation he ex- 
claimed, " Take back your Union! take back your 
Union I r The House were struck by his spirit 
on the occasion ;* but, like the forebodings of 
Cassandra, his words passed unheeded by. 

On this point Mr. Grattan observed, ci The 
Union could very easily be dissolved ; there can 
be no obstacle to the repeal of an Act of Parlia- 
ment. The influence of the Crown would be 
thereby lessened ; for the boroughs are so dimi- 
nished that the aristocratic power would be 
greatly decreased ; but objections of that nature 
are no reasons against the repeal. The aristo- 
cracy might be afraid of the Catholics, from their 

* The author was witness to the scene ; Mr. Foster spoke with such 
ardour and spirit, that the English members said he was tipsy. 


weight ill the representation and from their num- 
bers in the House of Commons, and that they would 
exclaim against paying the Established Church ; 
but that would be no objection, for it cannot be 
said that the payment of the Protestant clergy 
should be a bar to the restoration of Irish liberty." 

On the 11th of November, Parliament was 
assembled, but, in consequence of the bad state 
of his Majesty's health, was adjourned to the 
14th, and from that day to the 24th and 29th, and 
finally to the 13th of December, when a com- 
mittee was appointed to examine the physicians 
respecting the King's health. They had pre- 
viously been examined by the Privy Council, and, 
in the debate on the 29th, Mr. Perceval had made 
their testimony a ground for the adjournment of 
the House. This unconstitutional proceeding was 
strongly objected to, and by Mr. Ponsonby in par- 
ticular, but the Minister prevailed. Mr. Grattan 
thus gave his opinion on the subject. 

Mr. Grattan to Henry Grattan. 

Brighton, December 4th, 1810. 
. My dear Henry, — The report of the Privy Council is 
no evidence to ground the vote of adjournment. The vote 
of ad journment amounted to a declaration that the state of 
the King's health was such as to warrant a further suspen- 
sion of the executive government ; but of the state of the 
King's health the two Houses knew nothing but by com- 
mon report, an examination of physicians before another 
body, which body had no right to send their report to 
either House of Parliament to interfere on the subject. 
The only bodies capable of pronouncing on the health of 
the King are the Lords and Commons. As it has hap- 
pened, the body, namely, the Privy Council, who had no 
right to come to a conclusion on the subject, have held the 
examination, and the bodies whose duty and right it was 
to decide have held none. Could the Houses of Parliament, 
on an examination before the Council, transfer to a regent 
the executive power ? Certainly not. It follows that they 


could, on such an examination, agree to a suspension 
of the executive power. The vote of adjournment was 

Write to me. I like the debate, that is, some of the 
speeches. The Chancellor,* they say, spoke well, that is, 
I suppose, with craft. I dare say he and Westmoreland 
were exactly what you say. Yours, 

Henry Grattan. 

On the 19th of December, Mr. Perceval wrote 
to the Prince, and communicated to him his plan 
of a restricted regency, similar to that in 1789, 
but allowing him to confer peerages for naval and 
military services. It was to continue for a year 
and six weeks after the commencement of the 
next session of Parliament. The Prince objected, 
saying that this was not like the case of Mr. Pitt's 
regency, after both Houses of Parliament had 
agreed to certain resolutions, and which he would 
not animadvert on ; but before such resolutions 
were passed, which he could not anticipate Par- 
liament would agree to finally, he said that he 
would refer to his letter of 1789. He then sum- 
moned his brothers and the Duke of Gloucester, 
and they drew up a letter to Mr. Perceval, which 
they all signed, protesting against a restricted 

Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Ponsonby objected to 
the mode of proceeding adopted by Mr. Perceval ; 
and a call of the House was ordered for the 20th, 
when Mr. Perceval proposed three resolutions, 
declaring, that by reason of the indisposition of 
his Majesty, the " royal authority was thereby 
for the present interrupted ; " the 2nd, declaring it 
to be the duty of the Lords and Commons to 
supply the defect in such manner as the case may 
require ; and the 3rd, that the Lords and Com- 
mons should proceed by bill. This was opposed 

* Lord Eldon. 



by Mr. Ponsonby, who moved, as an amendment, 
an address to the Prince of Wales, calling on 
him to assume the sovereign authority during the 
illness of his Majesty. 

On this subject he made a most able, masterly 
speech, displayed great knowledge of the consti- 
tution, and acquired great credit. This was the 
more remarkable, as it was a subject that had 
been long and ably debated by the two great 
political champions and rivals, Mr. Fox and Mr. 
Pitt. "Mr. Ponsonby managed the case with less 
party spirit and less acrimony, and thereby ob- 
tained deserved approbation. 

Mr. Grattan supported Mr. Ponsonby, and 
took the same view of the case. He maintained 
that the precedent of 1788 was incomplete ; that 
the House could not give the royal assent to any 
act ; and could not assume to two branches the 
authority of three. He would not consent, either, 
to take from the Regent any of the powers be- 
longing to the kingly office. He would vote for 
proceeding by address. But the resolution to 
proceed by bill was carried by 269 to 157. 

On the 31st the Minister proposed his resolu- 
tions (they were five in number) as the ground of 
his bill. Mr. Lamb (afterwards Lord Melbourne) 
proposed the omission of the words "restrictions 
and limitations." In this he was supported by 
Mr. Leach (master of the rolls), in a most able 
and argumentative speech. It was, however, lost 
by 200 to 224 ; but on the question as to the 
household the rising star of the Prince appeared 
in the ascendant, and the Minister was defeated, 
on the amendment of Lord Gower to omit the 
words that vested in the Queen the unlimited 
control over the household, and to substitute the 
committing to her the direction of such portion as 
should be deemed requisite for the attendance on 


mr. grattan's remarks [chap. XII. 

his Majesty's person. This was carried by 226 
to 214 ; 13 majority against the Minister. 

Mr. Grattan strenuously opposed the limita- 
tions. Though strongly attached to the rights 
and liberties of the people, he was always a 
staunch supporter of the just rights and preroga- 
tives of the Crown, and was always averse to 
abridge them in any particular. These sentiments 
he showed in his Irish policy ; and these he mani- 
fested on the present occasion. He contended 
that the nation had a right to call on Parliament, 
to give the public the benefit of the prerogative 
vested in the Crown for their use. The executive 
magistrate ought to possess all the prerogatives 
of the Crown ; and in the present case, in time of 
war, this was still more necessary. He thought 
that the influence of the Crown should rather be 
diminished than increased ; but he was an enemy 
to the curtailment of its just and necessary autho- 

On the 2nd of January, 18 LI, when the report 
from the Committee was brought up and the 
resolutions read, Lord Porchester moved to omit 
the words " limitations and restrictions," which 
gave rise to another animated debate ; but the 
motion was unsuccessful. Mr. Grattan gave it a 
warm support, and concluded his speech with 
these remarks : — 

" I am as well disposed as any honourable member to 
pay every deference to the feelings of his Majesty ; but 
what are the feelings which the provisions of this bill, and 
the arguments of the right honourable gentlemen opposite, 
ascribe to him ? Are they not feelings derogatory from his 
known character, and disgraceful to one in his exalted 
station? Thus the sacred name of the king has been 
treated with disrespect, and insulted by imputing to him 
anxieties, not for the public welfare, but for his individual 
gratification ; — by representing him as awaking from what 




has been called "The Trance of Reason as inquisitive, 
not as to the situation of Europe, but as to the state of his 
household ; not as to the fate of England, but as to the 
condition of his establishment ; alive rather to the nomina- 
tion of his servants than to the calamities of his country ; 
and demanding-, not an account of his minister's measures, 
but a list of his household domestics. 

Thus, not content with calumniating the sovereign's 
mind, by supposing it filled with such unroyal notions, the 
right honourable gentlemen wish to make the very con- 
temptible feelings they impute to his Majesty the ground 
of our legislation. They first brand their king as unroyal, 
and then prove themselves unconstitutional. The best 
consolation of a sick king is the prosperity of his people. 
Parliament will abandon its duty if it attend rather to the 
identity of the king's household than to the competency of 
his government; and if such a mistaken view of what we 
owed to our sovereign and to our country shall influence 
the decision of this night, the monarch will certainly, on 
his recovery, find himself surrounded by his old domestics, 
but he will also be surrounded by the misfortunes of his 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

Brighton, 5th January, 1810. 

My Dear M'Can, — I know nothing more of the king's 
health than you see in the papers. The Minister has 
been beaten; and the Regency will take place in about 
three weeks, unless the King recovers in the mean time. 
You see plainly by the papers that the Ministers have no 
connection with the Prince of Wales. Some of their 
friends have left them. 

The latter end of the debate on Wednesday the 2nd was 
interesting. It was an argument about the memory of 
Mr. Pitt, between Sir Samuel Romilly and Mr. Canning, 
in which Mr. Canning made an eloquent eulogium on 
Mr. Pitt; and Sir Samuel Romilly maintained himself with 
great firmness and dignity.* Did you send the money to 

* Sir Samuel Romilly had observed that the precedent did not acquire 
additional authority from being established by Mr. Pitt. He was not 
among the worshippers of Mr. Pitt's memory, he was undoubtedly a 
man of most extraordinary and splendid talents; but much more was 
necessary to entitle a minister to the character of a great man, and that 
with all the talents Mr. Pitt possessed, and the great influence he so 



Mr. Yelverton for Egan's family.* Hardy's book is 
greatly admired ; it is considered as a most interesting 
excellent tract ; our family have read it with greediness. 
Remember me to Forbes. — Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 

During these proceedings a difficulty occurred 
which produced a more unconstitutional measure 
on the part of the Minister. An issue of a million 
of money was required for the service of the army 
and navy. Lord Grenville, the auditor of the 
exchequer, who was answerable for all sums of 
money, was pressed by the Lords of the Trea- 
sury to sign the amount, which, to be valid, should 
have the Privy Seal affixed, or a warrant by writ- 
ing or word of mouth from the King. Lord Gren- 
ville declined to sign it ; he was urged by the 
Minister, but refused ; and on applying for the 
opinion of the law officers of the . Crown, Sir 
Vicary Gibbs, and Sir Thomas Plumer, they de- 
cided he was right. The Minister was still 
urgent, and proposed to the House a resolution 
that it was expedient that the Commissioners of 
the Treasury should issue their warrant to the 
auditor for the payment of such sums as the 
exigency of the present conjunction might render 
necessary, and that the auditor and officers of the 

long enjoyed, he looked in vain for any acts of his administration by 
which he had increased the happiness or improved the condition of his 
fellow-subjects. After this Mr. Canning spoke and did not take the 
least notice of what Sir Samuel Romilly had said of Mr. Pitt ; but the 
next day at the end of a long debate he produced a laboured panegyric 
on Mr. Pitt, richly adorned with all the eloquence of twenty-four, hours' 
research. To this Sir Samuel calmly replied, that if the night before he 
had in simple language shown in what class he could find an increase 
of comfort and happiness, the effect of Mr. Pitt's talents, or to what 
part of the empire he was to look to read " his history in a nation's 
eyes," he would have better served the memory of his friend than by all 
his laboured rhetoric. — Rom illy' s Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 351. 

* Mr. Egan had opposed the Union, but this service to his country 
met with no reward ; in 1806, he too was forgotten — his circumstances 
were far from affluent, and Mr. Grattan was happy to have it in his 
power to assist them. 


Exchequer were authorized and commanded to pay 
obedience to the warrant. This passed, and was 
obeyed ; and the House of Commons thereby 
completely assumed the prerogative of the Crown, 
and so far followed the steps of the Long Parlia- 
ment by thus superseding the authority of the 
sovereign. The resolutions as to the Regency 
were presented to the Prince by deputations from 
both Houses ; to whom he replied, that he would 
undertake the trust, but stated "his regret, that, 
in consequence of the limitations and restrictions, 
he had not been allowed to show all the reveren- 
tial delicacy towards his beloved father inculcated in 
the resolutions. Anxious to tranquillize the public 
mind, he was determined to submit to any personal 
sacnjice, and would rely on the constitutional 
advice of an enlightened Parliament." This answer 
was the joint production of the Prince and of 
Sheridan ; the latter, however, disowning most of 
it, probably the passages regarding reverential 
delicacy and filial affection. It led to many in- 
jurious consequences, it was made the pretence 
by one party, and assigned as the cause by the 
other, of a most unexpected and untoward rup- 
ture, and was the ostensible means of testing the 
Prince's regard for his party and his principles. 

On the 8th of January he had sent for Lord 
Grenville and Lord Grey, who came to him imme- 
diately, knowing that the Prince intended to apply 
to them to form a new administration as soon as 
he became Regent. In fact, the arrangement for 
the new ministry were already made.* They 

• The new ministry was as follows : — Lord Grenville was to be 
First Lord of the Treasury; Lord Holland, of the Admiralty; Lord 
Grey, Messrs. Ponsonby and Whitbread, Secretaries of State; Lord 
Erskine, Speaker of the House of Lords ; Pigott and lxomilly, Attorney 
and Solicitor Generals ; the Great Seal in Commission. It was in- 
tended that the Chief Baron should resign, and Pigott have taken his 
place, and Romilly have been Attorney-General, but Pigott refused. 


were then requested by the Prince, at the sug- 
gestion of Sheridan,* to prepare the answer to 
the address that had been voted by both Houses. 
They did so, but it was a difficult task, and ill 
accomplished. Lord Grenville had supported, 
and Lord Grey opposed the restrictions. Their 
composition, accordingly, did not meet with the 
approbation of the Prince ; and he addressed an 
answer that Sheridan had prepared, and which he 
altered and interpolated ; and this he gave, as 
already stated, to the deputation from the two 
Houses. Here commenced the schism that led 
to the continuance of Mr. Perceval's party. Lord 
Grenville and Lord Grey being dissatisfied that 
at the very outset of their enterprise they were 
unceremoniously superseded — that their draft was 
rejected, and that of Sheridan's adopted, as they 
thought — wrote a joint representation to the 
Prince upon the subject. It was formal, and 
rather dictatorial, and as if the authors were 
already in power ; and to make it worse, it re- 
flected upon Sheridan (to reflect on a court 
favourite is ruin, and so they found it). The 
Prince informed him of this letter; and he exerted 
his talent and satire against them in consequence, 
and unfortunately with too much success. He 
ridiculed their stately style, and represented to 
the Prince the degree of vassalage he would be 
kept in by such councillors ; and finally, he wrote 
against them the following lines, some of which 
might, with more truth and much more justice, 
have been applied to Mr. Perceval and his 

The Prince had a high opinion of Romilly, said that he was the first of 
his profession, and would be a future chancellor; he had offered him a 
seat in Parliament in 1805, but Romilly declined it. — See Romilly's 
Memoirs, vol. i. 

* See the character of Sheridan, drawn by Sir James Mackintosh in 
his Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 263. 



'An Address to the Prince, 1811." 

4< In all humility we crave 
Our Regent may become our slave ; 
And being so, we trust that He, 
Will thank us for our loyalty. 
Then, if he'll help us to pull down, 
His Father's dignity and Crown, 
We'll make him, in some time to come, 
The greatest Prince in Christendom." 

Sheridan then wrote a long letter* to Lord Hol- 
land, explaining this strange and culpable con- 
duct. It was an artful but poor defence. He had 
first submitted it to the Prince, who approved of 
it, and it was so initialed by Sheridan. Thus 
coldness and enmity were engendered in the 
Prince's mind, and he became alienated and 
hostile. The Regency Bill having passed, the 
Great Seal was affixed to a commission for opening 
Parliament, the royal assent was pronounced in 
form ; and the Prince and the country were delivered 
up to the tender mercies of their old political oppo- 
nents. In these proceedings he had Sheridan's 
head and his own heart to advise him ; and these 
conductors precipitated him to the bottom, bereft 
of friends of principle, and of reputation. Sheri- 
dan completely overshot the mark; he thought 
he had only jockied the Whig leaders ; but what 
he sought as a victory for himself proved to be a 
triumph for his enemies ; and a few weeks after,* 
he was rewarded by his royal and faithful master 
in being actually employed to write the memo- 
rable letter to INI r . Perceval which finally decided 
the fate of the Whig party, that excluded them 
from office, and seated in power the No- Popery 
Administration. There were other causes, too, 
that led to this. The Prince hated his wife, and 
he thought Perceval the best instrument for his 

* Dated 15th January, 1811. 
t 5th February, 1811. 




purpose ; and that he would sacrifice the princess 
rather than sacrifice his place. A low court 
intrigue, also, had been carried on by means of 
one of the King's physicians, who represented to 
the Prince the probability of his father's recovery, 
and that a change of Ministers would inevitably 
produce such an effect on his mind as to occasion 
his death. This manoeuvre was seconded by the 
Queen, who wrote to her son, under the direction 
of Mr. Perceval, who guided her, informing him 
that his father had been apprised of all he had 
done, and had highly approved of his conduct. 
The weakness of the Prince caused him to give 
attention to their deceitful statements, and to fall 
more easily into the snare that was artfully pre- 
pared for him. 

This event occasioned great uneasiness to Mr. 
Grattan, and he began to tremble for the fate 
of the country. He had calculated on the 
Prince's friendship towards Ireland, and did not 
think he would abandon the party that he had 
been so long connected with, in order to continue 
a ministry whose principles were in direct op- 
position to those he had always professed — an 
inferior set of men, who had abused and insulted 
him, treated him in the most contumelious manner, 
attacked him personally, injured him politically, 
and, as they thought, completely ruined his cha- 
racter. Yet what could be expected from a per- 
son so weak — he who in the morning could ap- 
point one set of ministers, and in the evening 
change them for another diametrically opposite. 

It must, however, be recollected, that princes 
and kings have no affection — they have no equals, 
and that is the foundation of friendship — they 
are generally surrounded by persons who are 
courtiers by profession, and who practice and 
inculcate slavery — they like these men because 



they are submissive and impose no control over 
their desires. 

The Prince did not join that party before, 
because they stood in his way; he disliked them, 
too, because they were his father's friends, and 
the feelings of nature were lost in those of interest. 
His father then stood in his way, but when the 
son came into his place, the feelings and persons 
that he opposed appeared in a different point of 
view, and instead of being an impediment to his 
designs, they assisted them. The Prince knew 
that the Whig party would control him, that they 
would oppose him in the proceedings with regard 
to his wile ; in his love of expense ; in his anti- 
American sentiments, and in his attachment* 
to Hertford House. He viewed in them a severe 
didactic set, and feared them as a boy would 
a schoolmaster coming to instruct, to admonish, 
and to command. Lords Grey and Grenville were 
cold and haughty with him ; they did not con- 
sult Mr. Ponsonby, they did not advise with Mr. 
Grattan, they never thought of Moira or Hut- 
chinson, they passed over the Irishmen with whom 
he had lived, and Sheridan whom he liked. 

Here, again, the cause of Ireland was lost, her 
hopes disappointed, her feelings outraged, and 
her interests disregarded. Mr. Grattan, how- 
ever, thought that when the restrictions would 
expire, a favourable crisis would occur which 
might be managed more judiciously. The Prince 
always entertained a high regard for him, for he 
considered him an honest man, he was invariably 
civil to him, invited him and his family to the 
dinners and parties at the Pavillion, and to his 
daughter (Lady Carnwath) he used to say, 
" G rattan is my friend, I can truly call him my 

* Lady Hertford was the favourite then, but she was soon afterwards 
abandon A for another. 

VOL. V, F F 



friend," thus there lingered some hope in Mr. 
Grattan's mind ; he considered the Prince not 
wholly lost, and he did not despair of the great 
cause that reigned paramount in his mind. That 
he was not wholly mistaken will appear from 
the subsequent events of 1812. 

It is to be regretted that the able speakers at 
the most important part of Ireland's history, 
should have left scarce any traces of the eloquent 
efforts they made on behalf of their country. 
In past times an able argument of Patrick Darcy 
was preserved; it was delivered, in June, 1641, 
by order of the Commons House of the Parlia- 
ment of Ireland, before a Committee of the Lords 
in the Castle of Dublin — it is an able defence 
of the rights of the people. The Parliamentary 
Debates of 1763 and 64, taken by Sir J. Caldwell,, 
who entitles himself a Military Officer, afford very 
inferior specimens of eloquence, though Flood 
and Hutchinson's names appear there — even in 
later times in '80, '81, nothing of Daly, Yel- 
verton, Burgh (called silvered tongued Burgh) 
has been found. The celebrated speeches of 
Mr. Grattan in '80 and '82, were not taken at the 
time — and the spirit and patriotism then dis- 
played would have been lost to after ages, if every 
effort had not been made at a late period of his 
life to collect and revise the materials, and al- 
most to compel him to assist in their restoration. 
The ancients were wiser, Demosthenes and 
Cicero took great pains to preserve the records 
of their abilities and their fame — hence they 
spoke better, not so polished perhaps, but more 
powerful, and in particular the former, who 
condensed so ably all his arguments, and avoided 
the sad prolixity which is the reproach of mo- 
dern speakers* — the celebrated third philip- 

* Mr. Rice spoke for six "hours on the repeal of the Union, and Mr. 
Brougham for seven upon Law Rejbrm, both bad speeches. 



pic was delivered in three-quarters of an hour. 
Mr. Grattan's early speeches in the Irish Parlia- 
ment were his best, he considered that he spoke 
better in the Irish House than he did afterwards, 
he had a power of command and a tone of voice 
that he lost in later days ; his speeches in the 
Irish Parliament upon the subject of tithes, are 
fine specimens of philosophy and Christianity; 
his Catholic speeches in the English House are 
condensed arguments, and do not abound so 
much in the flow and ease of youth; certainly 
they met with great success; his speech on the 
war in 1815 was a singular performance, de- 
livered nearly in his seventieth year with great 
fire and spirit, it caught the temper of the times, 
and produced an unusual effect. 

Mr. Lawless, an active-minded and public- 
spirited-person, generally known by the name of 
honest John Lawless, had made a collection of 
sume of Mr. Grattan's speeches, and had intro- 
duced a reply to Mr. Flood, which had never 
been made by him ; this occasioned some dis- 
pleasure to Mr. Grattan, and his letters show his 
anxiety to disclaim it. 

Mr. Grattan to Mr. M'Can. 

London, March 5th, 1811. 
My dear M'Can, — * I got the publication of my 
speeches, but was thunderstruck when 1 saw a villainous, 
and ridiculous fabrication by the newspaper of that day 
given to me as my reply to Mr. Floodf — there was no 

t Alluding to modern speakers, Mr. Grattan observed: — "I wonder 
what speeches will survive. Burke's will, so long as the language lasts, 
longer indeed, for they have been translated; Fox's will — that on the 
Peace of Amiens certainly ; I doubt whether Pitt's will — I rather think 
not ; his father's will ; Lord Chatham's will long be read, yet they are 
not speeches so much as extracts from them ; Bolingbroke will be read 
and Junius — that is Burke, a better Burke: the fault of Burke was he 
left the region of argument for that of imagination — this will please, but 
not convince— men will listen, but will doubt. Of himself he said 
nothing, but he thought well of two on Ireland's independence, two on 
tithes, and two on the Catholics. 

F F 2 


mr. grattan's letters [chap. XII. 

such thing set forth in the list of speeches which was sent 
to me. 

The speeches on the prefatory part are imperfect ex- 
tracts, they were never taken with any care by any one — 
but the reply to Mr. Flood is inadmissible — I have ac- 
cordingly given orders to disavow it. The collection of 
those speeches which are not in the preface appear, from 
what I have read, to be very well done — but the reply to 
Mr. Flood disgraces me — it vexes me much, because they 
who publish the work are my friends. — Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 

Same to Same. 

March 7th, 1311. 

When you read the reply, put in my mouth as made to 
Mr. Flood, you will see the impossibility of my ever having 
spoken such a one. 

I like the book in general extremely well, as far as I 
have been able to go through it. 

The speeches in the prefatory part (for I distinguish 
that from the collection) were never well taken, however 
they were made up for me at the time, by I know not 
whom, but that is no matter; but the reply I am anxious 
to stand acquitted of, being too scurrilous, and too low to 
go down to posterity as mine ; the newspapers made 
another reply for me to Mr. Corry. The truth is, with re- 
gard to him, with regard to Egan, and with regard to 
Flood, I was anxious not to permit any extract of my 
replies, because, in the circumstances in which we stood, 
I thought it dishonourable. 

The newspapers, however, did what I did not, and 
published for me without bad intentions, such answers as 
did me more injury, than the real reply did my anta- 

I therefore wish you would get that reply I write about 
contradicted, and in such a manner that the contradiction 
may go down along with the book. I wish the contra- 
diction was published in the paper also; the note I enclose 
I think would do ; it would not hurt the sale, and it would 
serve me. I send you my speech on the letter of Mr. 
Pole. # — Yours ever, 

IT. G rattan. 
* On the Convention Act then enforced against the Catholics. 



All beg to be remembered to you ; Mrs. Grattan is better, 
and in good spirits. Hardy's book is much admired here; 
I wish it were recommended highly in the Irish papers ; 
he deserves it, and it might serve him materially. 

Same to Same. 

March 19th, 1811. 
My dear M'Can, — The politics here are dark; there 
is an uncertainty as to the real state of the king's health. 
.Foster, I believe, has resigned. I am glad what I said on 
the letter of Pole gives satisfaction. I know not what 
new taxes are intended for Ireland, but I suppose they 
must have some, her situation is this 

• Her debt is near 90,000,000/., the interest of the debt 
with the sinking fund above 4,000,000/., her revenue 
3,600,000/., her expense about 11,000,000/. Newport 
means to make some statement* on the subject — it is 
more easy to make the statement than to find the remedy. 
I did what I could for the distillers, who petitioned, but 
it was impossible to relieve them. — Yours ever, 

H. Grattan. 

On the 19th of March, 1811, Sir John New- 
port had moved three resolutions : — 

1st, That the funded debt of Ireland had 
trebled within ten years, and was on the 5th 
of January, 1811, 89,728,992/. occasioning an 
annual permanent charge for interest, sinking 
fund, and management, of 4,273,000/., and that 
the ordinary revenue of Ireland had been last 
year only 3,G14,000/. 

2d, That taxation had totally failed, as the net 
revenue of 1810, being 800,000/. below that of 
1807, although taxes estimated to produce 
900,000/. had been imposed. 

3d, That no adequate cause for this can be 
discovered in the commercial difficulties of the 

• See Sir John Newport's motion as to the income and expenditure 
of Ireland. — Par. Debutes, vol. xix. p. 423. 

438 sir j. Newport's motion, [chap. xii. 

empire, as the intercourse between Great Britain 
and Ireland, the great channel of commerce for 
the latter has not been impeded except in one 

Mr. Parnell said, that Lord Castlereagh had 
at the Union contributed to all the evils and em- 
barrassments which oppressed the country, his 
calculations at the Union were erroneous, when he 
had fixed the ratio of contribution and expenditure 
between the two countries, he made the propor- 
tion of Ireland to England as 1 to 9 in time of 
war, and 1 to 5 (afterwards changed to 7J) in 
time of peace, Ireland was paying a greater pro- 
portion than she ought, and hence the increased 
burthen upon her — she was called on to provide 
11,000,000/. for the national expenditure; yet, 
after all the efforts made by Mr. Foster, he could 
only get 4,500,000/. in the former year; 3,600,000/. 
in the latter. 

The resolutions were not adopted by the House, 
but they could not be controverted — all the papers 
were referred to a select committee, and a very 
elaborate report was produced which remains 
upon record an important national document, 
and a proof of the poverty and mismanagement 
of the nation — the result of this motion was fur- 
ther efforts at taxation, then followed increased 
defalcations, then insolvency, and, in a few years 
after, national bankruptcy. Thus it may be said 
that Sir John Newport's melancholy triumph was 
in beholding the miseries of his country. Mr. 
Foster retired from office disgusted and wearied, 
and unable to effect any good. In his conversa- 
tion on the subject with Mr. Grattan, he laughed 
at the idea that the trade of Ireland had been 
increased by the Union, and said the assertion 
was ridiculous. 




Same to Same. 

3rd April, 1811. 

My dear M'Can, — If the compilers publish those 
speeches I forbid, they will disgrace their publication, 
and expose their taste, and bring out an advertisement 
declaring them to be spurious — however, it may have one 
good effect, it may force me to publish my real speeches, 
particularly that on the Declaration of Right. Last 
night the Distillery Bill was debated, there was con- 
tained in it a clause prohibiting the intercourse of spi- 
rits between Great Britain and Ireland; during the con- 
tinuation of the Bill, I went to some of the ministers 
to know w hether they meant to support the clause ; 
being assured they meant to abandon it, except so far as 
it was necessary to give the distillers notice — I did not 
think it necessary to speak on the subject, farther than to 
say I was glad that the annual prohibition was to be 
taken out of the Lhll before the House, and if it were 
brought forward in any other, that would be the time in 
which I should speak to it. I mention this, because the 
papers have omitted what fell from me, and it seems as if 
I was not present. 

Love to all, Forbes, Sec. All beg to be remembered to 
you. — Yours, 

H. Grattan. 

In the course of the session of 1811, several 
petitions were presented on the subject of Par- 
liamentary reform. The state of the represen- 
tation was so defective, and the conduct of the 
House of Commons on the questions regarding 
the expedition to Walcheren, and the proceeding 
relative to the Duke of York had so deeply im- 
pressed Mr. Grattan's mind as to the necessity of 
reform, that it was his intention to have spoken 
on the subject, but he lost the opportunity. He 
wrote as follows : 

Mr, Grattan to Henry Grattan. 

Brighton, 181 1. 

My dear Henry, — In the appellation of Parliamentary 



reform, three subjects are, by common usage, compre- 
hended ; the shortening the duration of Parliament, the 
alteration of the constituency, and the amendment of the 
representation of the people : the latter is the real ques- 
tion, because the defects of the latter is the great grievance. 
I . should consider the latter, therefore, by itself, and 
esteem it a question of right, i think it might be reduced 
to certain self-evident propositions. By the law of these 
countries, the constituency, that is, the electors, are the 
Commons; the Commons are the third estate of the realm, 
and, acting by representation, are an essential, integral part 
of the Parliament, The House of Commons is not the 
Commons ; they are the Commons acting by represen- 
tation in Parliament; if they be not that they are nothing; 
whatever right they have is derivative,— it emanates from the 
electors of the realm, — that is to say, the Commons. If the 
House of Commons be not the representatives of the Com- 
mons, if that house be the representatives, or if (which is the 
same thing) the majority of that house be the representatives 
of peers, or of great proprietors, they (that house) are no- 
thing, — they are the representatives of strangers who have 
no right to elect, and no authority to sit by representation. 
So true is this, that you could not state in Parliament, 
without being forthwith called to order, that the lords, or 
certain great individuals, returned the House of Commons, 
or any part, and that the Commons did not, — so that 
such a representation is not only illegal, but the public 
announcement of it is criminal and disorderly. It follows 
from this, that when the Commons, that is to say, the 
constituents, desire that the Parliament should abolish 
private boroughs, they desire nothing more than a matter 
of right; they desire that the Parliament should restore 
the right of representation to the Commons, and the Com- 
mons to the constitution. As it is clear the Commons 
have the right, it clearly follows that the borough patron 
has none ; it follows so the more clearly when he advances 
his pretensions ; his pretensions are founded on long usage, 
that is, he prescribes for a right to exclude the third 
estate, and to come in its place. He prescribes for that, 
the very nature of which is . incompatible with private 
property. That prescription is bad which is fatal to the 
things for which the prescription is advanced. There can 
be no prescription in a monopoly of trade, — no prescrip- 
tion for a monopoly of representation, no more than for 



a monopoly of the air, or a monopoly of liberty, — these 
things, being in their essence public property, cannt>t be 
rendered private property by any usage or custom. 
Could individuals prescribe for a right to make a king, or 
to make a House of Peers? — no, nor to make a House of 
Commons. The executive, the judicial and the legisla- 
tive power cannot be elected by individuals; the attempt 
would be treasonable, and the doctrine abominable. 
When I speak of prescription, I attribute to borough pro- 
perty an antiquity which it wants. In England this pro- 
perty proceeded from gradual local depopulation within 
the memory of man, certainly not beyond it. In Ireland 
t lie greater number of private boroughs were created since 
the time of James I. to gratify private persons, or to 
counterbalance county representation. The advocates 
against reform cannot stand on such a plea ; and there is 
but one piece of ground on which they seem to be able to 
plant their foot ; namely, the impossibility of the remedy, 
that is to say, the impossibility of having a representation 
of the people, which I deny. The thing was done — it was 
done lately; it was done by themselves ; it was done in a 
few days, without noise or difficulty, in 1800; they them- 
selves in Ireland nearly annihilated the private represen- 
tation, and left the public: they found the private repre- 
sentation as two to one, and they made it as one to two. 
Mucfa may be said on this subject, but I must conclude. 
We shall be in town on Wednesday or Thursday. — Yours 
ever, H. G. 

Henry Grattan, Esq., 11, Tavistock-street, 
Bedford-square, London. 

Mr. Grattan to Edward Hay.* 

London, June 5th, 1811. 

Dear Sir, — I was favoured with your request to pre- 
sent to the House of Commons a petition of a numerous 
body of subscribing Catholics on the subject of the Militia 
Intercourse Bill. Whatever conies from any desciiption 
of that body I receive with great attention. 

I beg to observe, that since the above-mentioned petition 
was voted, the Interchange Militia Bill has been ordered 
to be read a third time, and has, in every previous stage, 
received the approbation of the House of Commons. 

* He was secretary to the Catholic body, their board and commit- 
tees ; an active, honest, and ardent servant in their cause. 


The clause in the petition which therefore suggests that 
" this is a step to root out the Catholic religion, proselyte 
the country, and revive the penal code" contains against 
the House of Commons, who had approved of this bill, 
charges too strong to be presented to that body; and the 
petition with such a clause is not presentable. 

I have thought right to have the opinion of several of 
the principal persons of both countries who take a lead in 
favour of the Catholics, and their opinion is, that the 
petition with such a clause is not presentable to the House 
of Commons. Mr. Ponsonby and Sir John Newport have 
authorized me to tell you so. 

I beg to observe, that there is in the bill a clause intro- 
duced, by force of which the Catholic militia shall have 
the same civil, military, and religious privileges in Great 
Britain which it has in Ireland. — I am, dear sir, your very 
sincere and humble servant, 

Henry Grattan. 

The following letters addressed to his son, who 
had entered the army, are not devoid of interest, 
as they allude to the events and characters of the 

Mr. Grattan to James Grattan. 

June, 1811. 

My dear James, — The home politics are confined to 
the king's health, the bankruptcies of the merchants, and 
the Catholics of Ireland. Of the first they talk variously : 
to-day they rumour that he is not so well, but that he will 
soon recover, and resume. The prince, supposing his 
father would soon recover, did not change the ministry : 
he left them their places, but withheld his confidence. 
Second, bankruptcies have increased this year to a great 
amount ; the principal cause appears to be the want of a 
market : merchants and manufacturers had abundance of 
goods, but no part of the world would take them, or pay 
for them. South America overstocked — the markets of 
Europe, except Spain and Portugal, shut ; thus it appears 
that the orders in council have not had their desired 
effect, and that Bonaparte's interdict begins to affect us. 
Third, the Catholics. That question arose from a letter 
of Mr. Pole to the magistrates of Ireland, declaring county 



meetings illegal assemblies, and enjoining the civil power 
to arrest any person who should proceed to elect delegates 
in the different counties according to the summons for 
their committee. The question was debated in the House 
of Commons : the Catholic committee was unmolested, 
and the counties have not in general proceeded to send 
delegates to the Catholic committee. An address* was 
resolved on to remove the Duke of Richmond and Mr. 
Pole. The foreign questions on those of Spain and Por- 
tugal must be left to the chance of war. England has 
made every exertion, and has sent the greatest native army 
that ever left England. As to America, that question 
remains open, and I fear the passions of both England and 
America embitter in consequence of delay. It is a question 
that never should have arisen ; when arisen, it should have 
been settled in a month : subsisting till now, it will never, I 
fear, be amicably settled at all. Mr. Foster, second 
cousin to the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer, is going- 
out in quality of ambassador. I hope he will — I fear he 
won't — bring back the olive. 

Don't forget to make the book I mentioned to you,— a 
register of events, and of the physical and moral circum- 
stances of the countries you visit. — Yours, &c. 

H. Grattan. 

James Grattan, Esq., 20th Dragoons, Sicily. 

Same to Same. 

July, 1811. 

Dear James, — I hope you will like your promotion ;+ 
you will ever have it in view to get to the head of your 

There are two questions in the House of Commons, — 
the Catholics and Currency. Mr. Canning displayed 
much talent — Mr. Huskisson much knowledge. The 
minister was, as usual, hostile, and more than usually 
pointed : he was able, but he was narrow, impolitic, and 
uncharitable. He generally speaks well — sometimes very 
well, and seldom, or never, ill ; but he is too great 
a churchman to be a great politician: he has this session 
acquitted himself expertly, and will leave power if he does 

* No such address was adopted by Parliament, but the Irish Catho- 
lics desired it. 

f He had got a Lieutenancy in the Regiment. 


go out with more authority than he obtained it. Foster 
has dosed his political career; it was a various day, 
clouded not a little ; brighter in his own country than in 
England : splendid at the time of the Union, — obscure at 
the close. 

I have dined much with the bar ; they are the best 
society in Ireland, and are some of them an able and 
talented set of men ; but the Union has had its effects 
upon them ; their conversation is confined to the incidents 
of their profession, insulated as their situation. — Yours, 

H. Grattan. 

James Grattan, Esq , Sicily. 






Commencement of the Prince Regent's Government in 1811. — Proceed- 
ings of the Catholics. — Mr. Pole's circular letter. — Mr. Grattan's re- 
marks. — Presents the Catholic petition. — Motion thereon, and reply to 
Mr. Perceval. — Conduct of the No-Popery Government. — Prosecution 
of the Catholics. — Arrest of Lord Fingall. — Unconstitutional conduct 
of the Chief Justice. — Convention Act. — Trial of the delegates. — 
Acqr.ittal of Dr. Sheridan. — Trial of Mr. Kirwan. — Conduct of Sir 
Charles Saxton, Under Secretary. — Tampers with the jury lists. — 
Speech of Mr. Peter Burrowes. — Mr. Kirwan found guilty. — Conduct 
of the prince. — His letter to the Duke of Richmond as to Lord 
Leitrim. — Lord Hutchinson's spirited conduct. — Lord Grenville's and 
Mr. Horner's Letters. — Lord Morpeth's motion as to Ireland. — Mr. 
Grattan's speech. — America, orders in Council. — Mr. Grattan on 
Mr. Perceval's policy. — Petition from the Protestants of Ireland in 
favour of the Catholics. — Mr. Grattan moves Catholic petition, 23rd 
April, 1812. — Speech. — Mr. Perceval assassinated. — Mr. Grattan's 
letters. — Incapacity of Ministers to conduct the Government. — Record 
thereof. — Attempts to form an administration. — Mr. Wortley's motion. 
— Hostility of the Prince. — Old ministry retained. — Remarks on ne- 
gotiations. — On Lords Grey, Grenville, and Moira. 

Tin: year 1811 was passed in great disquietude. 
Much was expected from the Prince ; much was 
apprehended from Buonaparte. Master nearly of 
Europe, he threatened Russia, and sought to acid 
that empire to his dominions ; but fortunately Pro- 
vidence was destined to interfere and check his am- 
bition. With respect to the Prince Regent, the 
people of England were in doubt, the people of Ire- 
land in astonishment, and the Catholics in despair. 

At first, the Prince treated his father's ministers 
coldly, and received the visits of his Opposition 
friends, Lord Hutchinson and Lord Moira. The 
former resided at Carlton House, and had an 
opportunity of witnessing the weakness of the 



Prince ; how quickly the Ministers gained upon 
him ; and how he weaned himself by degrees 
from his old party. He lived with his brothers, 
the Duke of York and the Duke of Cumberland ; 
the latter of whom, since the attempt on his life 
in 1810, resided at Carlton House. He showed 
few symptoms of affection for his early friends ; 
no disinclination to a No-Popery Administration ; 
and little regard for the proceedings of the House 
of Commons. One of the first measures of his 
rule was to restore his brother, the Duke of York, 
to the office of commander-in-chief, from which 
he had been forced to retire, in consequence of the 
proceedings in Parliament in 1809. Lord Milton 
made a fruitless motion on the subject in the 
House of Commons. It was precipitate and inju- 
dicious on his part, done without consultation, 
and not politic for his party. It put the Prince 
on his guard, and hazarded his good disposition, 
if he entertained any such towards them ; but the 
Whigs knew his character, and saw that he was 
lost to them for ever. The subservience of the 
House was the shield that protected him, and he 
knew it; accordingly the Duke remained in pos- 
session of his office. The next proceeding of the 
Prince's Government .was the prosecution of the 
Roman Catholics. They had held a general com- 
mittee, from whence petitions were presented to 
Parliament, which were civilly received and uni- 
formly disregarded. With a view, therefore, of 
extending their body, and giving greater influence 
to its measures, their secretary (Mr. Hay), in 
January, 1811, was directed to write to the 
Catholics, calling upon them to appoint managers 
in each county to forward their petitions. This 
brought forth the vigour of Government, and Mr. 
W ellesley Pole,* the secretary, issued a circular 

* Afterwards created Lord Maryborough. 



letter to the sheriffs and magistrates throughout 
Ireland, calling upon them to arrest all persons 
who posted notices of appointing such managers, 
or who voted for them, or acted in such capacity. 
This letter threw the country into a state of the 
greatest agitation. The subject was brought be- 
fore Parliament, and on the 22nd of February, 
Mr. Ward* moved an address to the Prince for 
the production of Mr. Pole's letter. Mr. Grattan 
severely censured the conduct of the Government 
for denouncing as disloyal and unlawful a body 
that Parliament had already recognised, and had 
been in communication with. The words <f un- 
lawful assembly," as applied to that body, he 
considered most improper. The Convention Act 
did not apply, as it did not pretend to interfere 
with the right of petition ; and it was necessary 
that tli£ people should have power to appoint 
persons to manage their petition and collect the 
sentiments of those in their vicinity; He observed 
as follows : — 

In my judgment these popular meeti-ngs, thus conducted, 
aie not the cause of just aWrm. It is we]J that opportunities 
should rxist for the mind of the people to evaporate. The 
aspirations of active genius, and the high mettle of young 
ambition, shoi*ld not be subject to eternal control. I sec 
much o/ public spirit in the Catholics of Ireland ; much 
indeed of vehemence ; but of a vehemence that threatens 
no evil consequences. The fire should be kept iji its 
proper orb, and it will emit a salutary light ajid heat, 
without bursting into conflagration. Nothing has been 
stated to justify the retrospective operation of the Con- 
vention x\ct; and if Ministers are determined to persevere 
in their impolitic system, I hold it to be the duty of the 
House to interpose in favour of the people, and to assert 
the right of the Irish subject to complain of grievances. 
It remains for Ministers to show, that to destroy the 
Catholic Com.mittee was necessary, in order to prevent a 

* Afterwards Lord Dudley. 



national convention in that country. It was the un- 
doubted privilege of the subject to be sometimes clamo- 
rous and violent in the maintenance of his rights. I will 
not say it is his right to be foolish also; but l am sure 
that, with a view to suppress any mischief that may be 
apprehended, the worst plan is a harsh exercise of the 
power and authority of government, Occasional ebullitions 
of warm feelings do not call for its chastising arm ; they 
are the symptoms of a free spirit, the calentures of a lofty 
mind, harmless when gently treated. 

The Ministers opposed the motion, and it was 
consequently lost; there being only 43 for and 
80 against it. 

Unwearied and indefatigable in his exertions, 
Mr. Grattan again brought forward the Catholic 
question in May 1811 ; and on the 3 1st he moved 
that the petition should be referred to a Com- 
mittee of the whole House. He prefaced his 
speech by getting the clerk to read the resolu- 
tions of the 28th March, thanking General Graham 
and his army for their brilliant victory at Barossa ; 
also those of the 20th April, thanking Lord Wel- 
lington and the army in Portugal. The following 
extracts of this speech are worthy of being noticed, 
as showing the sufferings of the people, the inju- 
ries done to them, and their patient and surprising- 
submission. After observing on the arguments 
brought against the Catholics, he said, — 

What, in fact, does this evidence amount to? It be- 
gins by testifying that an immense body of Christians, 
subjects of this empire, are worse than any class of idola- 
tors; that they are not trustworthy in civil life. But if 
this charge be true, then it can be no less true, that the 
Messiah has failed — that the Christian religion is not of 
Divine origin — since its effect and operation has been to 
deprave and immoralize mankind. The charge is com- 
pounded of the dogmas of the Church and the politics of 
the Court; the spirit of the former being uniformly the 
spirit of bigotry, that of the latter as uniformly power. 


Against this evidence we have long had the indisputable 
declarations, and the explicit testimony, of six most 
eminent universities of Europe, disclaiming any doctrine 
incompatible with the strongest attachment to the civil 
government of every country. In addition to this, there 
is our experience of the fact, as proved and established in 
the long intercourse that has subsisted between Protestant 
and Catholic, and the long obedience and submission 
shown by the Catholic to your Government. But let us 
look at the charge in another point of view, and examine 
upon what ground it rests. It represents that you, haying 
had possession of Ireland for six hundred years, have so 
abased the exercise of your authority — have so oppressed 
and misgoverned the people of that country, that they are 
unalterably hostile to your interests, and inflexibly rebel- 
lious to your control. It represents that you stand as if 
convicted of a perversion .of your -power, and practically 
disqualifies you to be governors, under ichose sovereignty 
Ire/and has passed so many centuries of her existence. 
But, sir, I believe no such tiling. I believe the assump- 
tion to be groundless; that it is unjust to accuse England ; 
but such is the nature of the accusation against the 
Catholics; it points less against them than against Eng- 
land, and British connection. Depend upon it, that the 
original source of a people's vices is the vice of its Govern- 
ment ; and that in every instance since the creation of the 
world the people have been what their rulers made them. 
A good government makes a good people. Moralize your 
laws, and you cannot fail to moralize your subjects. 

The good advice and the sage counsel that is 
contained in the following passage was wholly 
thrown away on the British ministry ; the error 
will be discovered, probably, when too late. 

Do you not know that the preservation of your own 
religion, your liberty, and all your privileges depends on 
the success of your efforts against the French ? Do you 
not know that your success depends on your union among 
yourselves, and that, if instead of being united, you split 
and separate, you are a ruined nation ? The Government 
may tell you, you can wait. Yes ; God Almighty may 

VOL. V. G G 



wait, but will the enemy wait? I now tell you, unless you 
tolerate each other, you must tolerate a conqueror. You 
will be enslaved and plundered, for confiscation will 
surely follow in the train of conquest. Thus your pro- 
perty will go to other hands, and you will be a ruined 
nation. You may be a very grave nation, and a very wise 
nation; but if in one part of your policy, which is the 
most essential, you fail, — if you split among yourselves, 
you are a ruined nation. That one error will be your 
death, — it will render you incapable, with all your valour, 
to contend successfully against your foe ; but even to 
preserve your existence as a nation. I have often wished 
that some guardian angel would descend, and raise those 
sectaries from the plain of this world, above the little 
Babel of their own dissensions, and show them the cala- 
mities which were approaching ; show them, in the con- 
tinuance of their jarring, ruin visible; show them France, 
or rather, hostile Europe, arranged against them ; and 
then say, "If you join you may live; but divide, the 
destruction must be universal." 

Mr. Perceval replied to Mr. Grattan rather 
sharply; he denied the Catholic claim of right; 
said that those who spoke so often in defence of 
the Irish were not infallible : at one time they had 
supported, at another time they had opposed 
Doctor Milner, and it appeared that they were 
not only mistaken with respect to him, but also 
with respect to the veto, for the Irish agreed to 
grant it at one moment, and refused to grant it at 
another ; this showed that their declarations were 
not to be trusted. On this occasion he displayed 
a good deal of asperity, and clearly showed that 
he was the leader of a no-popery administration. 
Mr. Grattan spoke in answer. 

The Catholic, he says, will destroy the church ; and he 
goes on and states, that if they destroy the church they 
will destroy the state ; and he goes on to state, that if 
they destroy the state they will destroy the church ; for 
this was the whole of his argument ; it was echo upon 
echo, — repetition upon repetition. He urged no argu- 



ment : he relied on the force of his vociferation in place of 
argument : he had never attempted to prove anything that 
he said : he said, I think, 1 think, — and he thought 
wrong. He had said, he had no objection to the character 
of the Catholics ; and yet, before the Catholics could 
destroy the church they must be perjured. This is having 
no objection to the character to suppose them perjured. 
He had called me the declaimer for the Catholics ; I say 
that the right honourable gentleman is the declaimer for 
bigots ; and if ever there was one declamation without any 
share of truth or eloquence, it was that speech which he 
had made against one-fifth of his Majesty's subjects. 

The right honourable gentleman had showed in this a 
higher spirit of bigotry than he could have expected from 
a politician ; but his country would show him that it was 
not in the power of a declamatory minister to prevent them 
from attaining their object. He had maintained that the 
Roman Catholic, having a religion, was in itself no dis- 
qualification, and that if he was free from treasonable 
practices he stood precisely as any other dissenter who 
was a protestant. If the first was right, they were right, 
because their political opinions were unimpeachable. 
Would they, without inquiry, refuse to admit that portion 
of their fellow-subjects to a participation of privileges, 
whose loyalty could not be impeached. The right ho- 
nourable gentleman had shown no reason why they should 
be either excluded from the state or the army ; but he has 
shown reasons sufficient to disqualify himself from con- 
tinuing to be any longer minister of the country. 

This just reproof, this prudent counsel, and 
these noble sentiments were lost when submitted 
to the minister, — whose rule was prejudice, 
bigotry, and intolerance. The question was, a 
sixth time rejected, there being only 83 for, and 
146 against it. 

The years 1811 and 1812 formed an important 
era in the history of the Irish Catholics. In 1806 
they had been greatly disappointed : some thought 
that they expected too much, even more than it 
g g 2 




was possible to give; but they had not yet made up 
their minds to their provincial state, and they 
still retained the feelings of nationality. They 
felt they had a country, and wished they belonged 
to a nation. At length they found that neither 
Whigs nor Tories could relieve them from the 
penal laws that degraded them, or from the effects 
of the Union, that prostrated their efforts, blighted 
their hopes, and disappointed their just expec- 
tations. In this palsy that afflicted the state, 
they only saw a plan to make things easier for the 
minister, to get rid of the trouble of two par- 
liaments, but not to gain for the empire the 
strength of the country ; they therefore looked, 
as their last resource, to the prince ; to him they 
turned for protection— for support — for affection ; 
and from his former professions, and uniform pro- 
mises, they expected more than a cold display of 
friendship, and they looked for some active prin- 
ciple of good. 

With a view therefore to encourage and 
strengthen a feeling which some of them fancied 
still existed in his breast, they formed a plan, 
founded on the constitutional precedents of the 
realm. They recollected that a convention had 
restored Charles the Second ; that a convention 
had seated William the Third on the throne, and 
changed the dynasty of England ; that a conven- 
tion had been the means of obtaining freedom and 
independence for the protestants of Ireland in 
1782, and that a convention had been the means 
of obtaining rights and liberties for the Catholics 
in 1793. Fortified by these examples, they 
resolved to form a body to give them additional 
strength, and bring into more active operation the 
great mass of the people of Ireland. They had 
been reprimanded by their opponents in England 



as being indifferent to the success of the mea- 
sure of relief that was demanded for them;* they 
sought, therefore, to remove this impression, and, 
accordingly, in the month of July, 1811, they 
held an aggregate meeting, and appointed a com- 
mittee for the management of their various peti- 
tions throughout Ireland ; but, aware that the 
Convention Act, which had been passed in 1793, 
prevented all species of representation, they con- 
fined the duties of the body to the matter of 
petition, (that right having been secured by a 
proviso in the act) and they prohibited individuals 
from assuming any representative capacity. The 
body was to consist of the Catholic peers, their 
eldest sons, the Catholic baronets, the prelates of 
the church, the survivors of the delegates of 1793, 
ten persons to be appointed by each county, and 
five from each parish in Dublin. In appearance 
this was certainly a formidable body, but the 
Catholics were not always in accord, they were 
scattered and divided ; they had a dispirited 
aristocracy, — timid and servile, — like the pro- 
testant, generally standing aloof from the people; 
till fear, or threats, forced them into their ranks. 

The no-popery government now thought it a 
good time to interfere, and on the 3rd of July, in- 
formed Lord Fingal, that a council would be held 
and a proclamation issued against such meeting. 
Lord Fingal manfully adhered to his party, and 
refused to yield. The proclamation was issued, 
and the next day the Catholic body met, Lord 
Fingal in the chair, and determined to pro- 
ceed. The government calculated on being sup- 
ported in their measures, and that the people 
would be overawed, but the Catholics persevered, 
and even a Protestant magistrate wrote to the 

* See the debates in Parliament and speeches of Dr. Duigenan and 
the Tory members on the Catholic question, where this charge is made. 


Chancellor, refusing to act under the proclama- 
tion. The chief justice who was to try the case then 
issued his warrant to arrest two persons chosen as 
delegates, and three who had acted as electors ; 
undismayed however by this daring and uncon- 
stitutional act of the judge, most of the people in 
the various counties proceeded to appoint the 
respective individuals. Members of Parliament 
and magistrates attended the meetings, in many 
of which thanks were returned to Mr. Grattan 
for his exertions in their cause. In the month of 
December 18] 1, the body met, and Lord Fingal 
who acted as chairman, was arrested. The trial 
of one of the delegates, Dr. Sheridan, took place 
in Michaelmas term ; the grand jury was care- 
fully selected, police officers and magistrates were 
placed upon it, and some of the most respectable 
citizens were set aside by challenges on the part 
of the crown. The well-known police officer 
Major Sirr, standing in the Court, and as the 
names were called, giving his signal to the Crown 
Solicitor. Yet notwithstanding all this manage- 
ment, Dr. Sheridan was acquitted on the ground 
that there was no proof of representation, and 
that a meeting for the purpose of petitioning did 
not mean a meeting under pretence of it. 

The Catholics bore the victory with modera- 
tion, but the lawyers urged* on the next trial 
that of Mr. Kirwan, this, however, was put off till 
the month of January (1812), when a disclosure 
was made most disgraceful to the cause of justice 
and to the character of the government, but still 
quite in accordance with the system by which 

* Sir Arthur Pigott said, in conversing on the subject, that it would 
be much better if the lawyers had not pressed for Kirwan's trial, 
they should have been satisfied with the victory, as perhaps they might 
not get a second verdict ; he read the speeches of the counsel at the 
trial, he admired in particular Mr. Burrowes, and told the author that 
his speech had not been answered. 


the no-popery party administered the affairs 
of Ireland; it was discovered that the Under 
Secretary (Sir Charles Saxton), had at the Castle 
given to the Sheriff a list of jurors who were to 
try the case, and that there were only fourteen 
names on the Castle list that were not in the 
Sheriff's panel, there were 115 names in the 
Castle list, of which 101 were on the Sheriff's 
panel ; they were marked by numbers and by 
crosses, and by strokes, which t as sworn to by the 
Solicitor for the Crown, was for the purpose of seeing 
" that they were proper loyal men!" Such was the 
mode of administering justice in Ireland, — such 
was the manner in which Catholics were treate J, — 
such the commencement of the Prince Regent's 
government. It was objected on behalf of the 
delegates, that men thus selected had no right 
to sit in judgment upon them, and those jurors 
were accordingly challenged, and the question 
was tried. Mr. Burrowes, their able and distin- 
guished counsel, argued the point with great skill 
and ability — his remarks are so appropriate and 
so illustrative of the judicial system which un- 
fortunately existed in cases where Catholics or 
politics were concerned, that it is worthy of being 

Gentlemen — although you are not to decide upon the 
guilt or innocence of the Roman Catholics, it is a ques- 
tion of much importance to them whether they shall have 
a fair and impartial jury, or be tried by a jury procured 
by such tampering as had appeared. 

Gentlemen, upon this awful subject you stand in the 
situation of a jury, discharging similar functions, and I 
am appealing to you in that character. I consider that 
you cannot but believe that the Secretary was put in 
possession of the panel by some management or other. 
Now I will show you that the panel was most probably 
altered and influenced according to the list which was 
obtained by the Secretary. The sheriff himself wonders 



at the coincidence of the names. You, gentlemen, have 
seen various instances in which the* order and position 
of the names have been varied in the panel, from the 
order in which they stood on the list. 

Gentlemen, scrutinize this subject. The panel adopts 
101 names in Sir Charles Saxton's list. Why ? The 
Castle approves of them. It adds fourteen new names. 
Why? Because they are suggested by the Castle. It 
alters the numerical order of array. Why? Because 
this alteration is recommended by the Castle. Is this 
fancy or is it fact? Mr. Kremmis, or rather Sir Charles 
Saxton's list, has in eight or ten different instances pen- 
cilled numbers annexed to particular names. These num- 
bers differ and widely differ from the numerical order in 
which these names are placed in that list, and in every 
instance this suggested change of order is adopted in the 
panel. Gentlemen, these coincidences are not miracu- 
lous, though I will admit them to be providential. 
They seem to have allured the providence of God to 
bring scandalous fraud to solemn detection, by furnish- 
ing evidence which human testimony could not corrobo- 
rate, or human artifice could not elude. 

Notwithstanding this fervent appeal, the triers 
who were officers of the Court, found against the 
challenge; and the petty jury, on the very same 
evidence that acquitted Dr. Sheridan, found 
Mr. Kirwan guilty — he was fined a mark and 
discharged — after this the Government proceeded 
no farther. The Catholics meet, dissolve their 
body, and form out of it a board, which meets, 
petitions, and adjourns. 

These proceedings of the Government convulsed 
Ireland, and produced a considerable sensa- 
tion in England, no one could have foretold that 
such would have been the commencement of the 
Prince Regent's administration; yet he followed 
it by a step more singular still, for he wrote to 
the Duke of Richmond, to say that he approved 
of all he had done in reference to the Catholics 
and the Convention Act — and this letter the 


Lord Lieutenant boasted of among his friends at 
the Castle of Dublin. In another case he showed 
the feelings he entertained towards the people of 
Ireland. When Lord Leitrim and Lord Gosford 
were candidates for the Representative Peerage — ■ 
he desired Lord Hutchinson to make use of his 
name in favour of the former, which in conse- 
quence was done — but on being applied to from 
the Duke of Richmond (who favoured Lord Gos- 
ford) to learn his sentiments, the Prince wrote 
in reply that he was wholly indifferent as to the 
success of either ; the Government influence was 
therefore exercised in favour of Lord Gosford, 
who was accordingly elected. When Lord 
Hutchinson discovered this, he acted with a spirit 
becoming the occasion ; indignant at such con- 
duct, he declined all intercourse with the Prince, 
and never saw him for weeks before the restric- 
tions expired ; this vote in the Lords was of some 
service to the Prince's party, for on the 1st of 
July, it was given against the Catholics on Lord 
Wellesley's motion, and turned the balance of 
126 to 125. 

Mr. Grattan deeply regretted the course pur- 
sued by the Prince, not only on public but on 
private grounds, he foresaw the consequence that 
the Prince would enlist every generous feel- 
ing against him, that he would lose the warm 
affections of the people of Ireland, that all par- 
ties would exclaim against such conduct, and 
that it could not fail to excite indignation 
amongst some, discontent among others, and sur- 
prise among all. The conduct of the judges* 
at the trial of the Catholics was generally and 

* The Union has here been of disservice, the appointments are poli- 
tical ; each party as they come into office appoint them for parlia- 
mentary services ; their conduct on Mr. O'Connell's trial in 1844 was 



severely censured; the ablest exposers of Bri- 
tish law condemned the mode of administering 
justice in Ireland, and Horner (one of the first 
men of the day) spoke of it as it deserved. 
The subject was taken up by the opposition party, 
as the following letters testify. 

Lord Grenville to Mr. Grattan. 

Lord Grenville requests that Mr. Grattan will do him 
the favour to call on him to-morrow at one o'clock, to 
consider what steps ought to be taken in consequence of 
Mr. W. Pole's letter to the Sheriffs, desiring them to en- 
force the Convention Act against the Catholics of Ireland. 

Camelford-house, Sunday evening. 

Mr. Horner to Mr. Allen. 

Torquay, September 14tb, 1811. 

Dear Allen, — It is very hard to believe that the 
transactions of Government in Ireland are not in the 
same character of a crooked intriguing policy, for the 
purpose of managing the Prince. Have you any hesita- 
tion in thinking that the opposition ought to take up this 
matter in Parliament in the most decided manner, with- 
out any more of that forbearance and reserve which they 
practised last session, 

If the Irish judges support their government in the con- 
struction of the Convention Act, we ought to move for the 
repeal of so abominable a statute, and in discussing it 
have no mercy on the judges. If by any unlooked-for 
turn of patriotism or fear in the judges, they should con- 
strue the act, as it seems to me it ought to be, then we 
will have a much freer game to play by an attack upon 
the administration alone ; but, in either event, I feel very 
anxious that opposition should go resolutely to the at- 
tack without any compromise towards the Regent. It is 
not unlikely that Parliament will meet before the legal 
question can be decided at Dublin ; in that case ought we 
not to act without any delay, assuming our own construc- 
tion of the act to be clear and indubitable. I have not the 
least faith in any stories of secret intelligence possessed 
by Government as to designs on the part of the Catholics ; 
if Government is sincere, they may have been frightened 

chap, xiii.] mr. horner's letters. 


by the assurance of a little more eagerness among the 
Catholics, when they believed the day of emancipation 
was at last coming on, and the show of a little more de- 
termination and system, when they found that day bring 
them a fresh disappointment. I am much more inclined 
to believe that Perceval and the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury have worked upon Lord Manners, who is a timid 
man and very bigoted. The conduct of the Wellesleys in 
all this business is very pitiful, for they have no bigotry 
on the subject * * *. — Sincerely yours, 

Francis Horner. # 

Lord Morpeth, on the 3rd of February, 1812, 
brought forward a motion in the House of Com- 
mons for a Committee " to take into consideration 
the state of Ireland." It was debated with much 
zeal and ardour. The conduct of the Govern- 
ment — the legal proceedings they had instituted, 
and the tampering with the jury, were severely 
censured. Alluding to the Catholic body, Mr. 
Grattan remarked : — 

Such a Committee, with regard to Ireland, is more 
necessary, because Ireland is a distant nation, of whom 
you have said much and inquired little : her people, their 
dispositions, their condition, and their grievances, have 
not sufficiently occupied your attention, nor have they 
been sufficiently made a subject of your inquiry. Witness 
the various speeches in the House with regard to them, 

* The death of this individual in 1817, at the early age of thirty-nine, 
was a national loss ; he possessed great ability and singular talents; he 
raised himself by his worth and his integrity alone. In the House of 
Commons great respect was paid to his memory on moving a new writ 
for the place he represented. Sir James Mackintosh said — The House 
honoured the memory of a man of thirty-eight, the son of a merchant 
who never rilled an office or had the power of obliging a living creature, 
and whose grand title to distinction was the belief of his virtue — a fine 
lesson this and encouragement to mankind. — See Mackintosh's Memoirs, 
and Horner's Correspondence, vol. ii. — A monument covers his grave 
at Leghorn where he died, and a beautiful statue (executed by Sir F. 
Chantrey), was placed in Westminster Abbey. It redounds highly to 
his memory that he was mainly instrumental in effecting that salutary 
change in the Irish grand jury system of doing away with depositions 
and getting viva voce evidence taken. — See his statement as to this, and 
his difficulty in reconciling the Irish judges to it. 


lord morpeth's motion, [chap. xrn. 

and the monstrous errors by which those speeches are 
distinguished ! 

The following is an interesting historic descrip- 
tion, and shows the folly of one nation committing 
to another the custody of her rights and liberties. 
Self-legislation is life : — 

Those privileges are the security of your Church, and 
those disabilities its danger. 

I am the more convinced of the truth of this, and of the 
necessity of the removing the disabilities that affect the 
people of Ireland, when I behold the progress of their 
disquietude. Ever since the policy of Europe, with regard 
to religion, had changed, and the Emperor of Germany 
repealed the laws that were penal on the Protestants, the 
Irish penal code became a subject of discussion, and ever 
since 1792 a subject of disquietude. For instance, in the 
year 1792, when the Catholic petition was rejected; in 
1793, when the petition was received; and the hostility of 
the Irish Government rendered acquiescence unsatisfac- 
tory. In 1795, when leave to bring in a bill of repeal was 
refused ; in 1805, when their petition was presented, and 
a committee was refused ; in 1808, when their petition 
was presented, and a committee was refused ; in 1810, 
when their petition was presented, and a committee re- 
fused; in 1811, when a petition was presented, and a 
committee refused ; and now is added a disqualification, 
a litigation, with three-fourths of his Majesty's subjects 
about their dearest privileges. You go to war with 
America ; you have gone to law with Ireland ; the Catho- 
lics resort to a new mode of petitioning; the Government 
consider that mode to be unlawful ; the Government issue 
ten informations against the delegates ; the delegates per- 
sist, are arrested, and bring three notices of actions against 
the magistrates, and five against the Chief Justice ; the 
printers publish the proceedings of the Court and the 
Catholics ; the Court issue six attachments against the 
printers ; these twenty-three suits are supported by an 
eloquent bar of great legal ability and splendid powers of 
elocution ; those eloquent men must, as in duty bound, 
mark the errors and point out the misconduct of the one 
side as well as the other; the rudimental principles of 



government are put in a course of discussion, and the 
whole machine examined from centre to circumference ; 
whatever has been committed in history on either side, 
the conduct of Parliament, and the rights of the people 
must of necessity form the subject of their eloquence, 
animated by two auxiliary spirit-stirring subjects — the 
freedom of person and the liberty of the press. Wait, 
say gentlemen, for the discussion of three-and-twenty suits, 
and the return of public repose. Unfortunately for that 
repose, it happens that the law in question seems formed 
and calculated for renovated litigation ; the best lawyers 
differ ; eagle against eagle, long robe against long robe, 
verdict against verdict; now a defeat of the Government, 
now a defeat of the people ! 

Good sense and good feeling, as a man and a 
Christian, and sage advice as a politician, appears 
in the following passages : — 

I venture to affirm, that as long as those restrictions 
remain, no administration, Whig or Tory, can govern 
Ireland, with repose to itself, or satisfaction to the com- 
munity. It will be an alternate victory of a Protestant 
Government or a Catholic people.. I am against such 
victories. I would not enfeeble the Government, or break 
the spirit of the people. I do not desire the triumph of 
one sect or the other, but the triumph of both over their 
common prejudices; and in the triumph of both you 
will find the consolidation of the people and the strength 

of your empire — a tranquil people and a combined empire. 
* # # # * 

You will have this session to pronounce the doom of 
the Roman Catholics, whether their lot in the British 
empire is to be eternal disqualification. Sir, you cannot 
impose it; the very sound is horrible. What ! take away 
the Irish Parliament, and then exclude the Irish from your 
own ! What ! use the prospect of admission into this 
Parliament as an inducement to procure the abolition of 
their national Parliament, and then make their exclusion 
from the English Parliament eternal ! You take away 
the Government of their country ; you take away the 
Parliament of their country ; you take away their Church, 
you establish your own ; you make them pay that estab- 
lishment, and then disqualify them ! This people, with 



their fellow-subjects, pay you in rental two millions ; they 
pay you in commerce, at the current price, near ten 
millions ; they pay you in revenue, six millions ; they bleed 
for you in every quarter of the globe ; and you propose 
to disqualify them for ever ! You cannot do it ; your 
good sense and your good feelings forbid it; the feelings 
of your countrymen forbid it. It is an interdict ; hor- 
rible, unnatural, impossible ! 

That you may, in your present difficulties triumph, is 
the sincere wish of my heart; but as Ireland must be one 
great instrument of your success, so must she be a par- 
taker of your advantages : she shares your danger, she 
must share your privileges. 

After two nights of warm debate on the sub- 
ject, the House divided at half-past five in the 
morning, when there appeared for Lord Morpeth's 
motion, 135 ; against, 229. The Prince's friends 
voted against the Irish. It was said that he got 
them to do so. 

The minister (Perceval) having nearly created 
an insurrection in Ireland, proceeded to involve 
his country in a war with America. A recapitu- 
lation of the facts may not prove uninteresting,, 
The Berlin and Milan decrees of Buonaparte, in 
1806, prohibited the trade of neutrals with Eng- 
land, and were made; the pretext for passing the 
British orders in council of November, 1807, pro- 
hibiting the trade of neutrals with France unless 
the vessels touched at an English port. In con- 
sequence, the Americans lay an embargo on their 
trade with France and Great Britain, and then 
pass a non-importation act. They increase 
their naval and military establishments, and call 
out their militia. Fearing to drive her into the 
arms of France, Mr. Canning, in 1809, repeals 
the orders, as far as relates to Holland, and 
directs the British minister (Erskine)* to treat 

* Son of Lord Erskine. 



for a reconciliation. Erskine persuades the Ame- 
ricans to take off their embargo and non-impor- 
tation act, as far as regards the United Kingdom. 
Canning says, Erskine had violated his instruc- 
tions, — recalls him, and sends Mr. Jackson, — a 
rough character, in his place. The Americans 
re-enact the embargo and non-importation acts, 
complain that Jackson insults them, and break off 
all intercourse. Jackson is recalled. Mr. Foster, 
a young man, of little talent, and no experience, 
is sent in his place, and Mr. Pinkney, the Ame- 
rican envoy, leaves England. The two countries 
get further embroiled in conquence of their naval 
disputes, the affairs of the vessels, Chesapeake, Pre- 
sident, and the Little Belt. In 181 1, the American 
secretary asserts that Buonaparte had revoked the 
Berlin and Milan decrees, and that, according to 
promise, the orders in council should be repealed 
by Great Britain. Foster (the charge d'affaires) 
denies that they are effectually repealed : at 
length Great Britain, in 1812, issues a declaration, 
setting forth the nature, necessity, and object of 
the orders, and offers to repeal them when France 
shall effectually repeal hers. These protracted 
negotiations become aggravated by an accusation 
that England had strove to dissolve the American 
union, and fomented, through the agency of Sir 
James Craig and Captain Henry, the division of 
the northern and southern states. The British 
minister (Castlereagh) denies it ; but the circum- 
stances appeared suspicious, and warranted a 
message from President Madison to Congress on 
the subject. In conclusion, the orders in council 
are repealed after Mr. Perceval's death, but it 
was too late ; the Americans had already (July, 
1812) declared war against England. 

The war is attended with various success. 
Several divisions of American troops that had 



entered the Canadas are defeated and captured. 
Washington is burned, and the territory of Pe- 
nobscot taken by the English : but they fail before 
Fort Erie, and at Baltimore several British fri- 
gates are captured : the Americans fight despe- 
rately ; and in the action with the Java, one hun- 
dred and sixty men are killed, and every British 
officer. Finally, the British lose their fleet on 
Lake Champlain, and are defeated by General 
Jackson, at New Orleans, with the loss of their 
commander (Pakenham). Fourteen thousand men 
were employed on this fruitless and unjust war, 
and the remains of the army returned to Europe 
just in time to be too late for the battle of 
Waterloo. Such has always been the fatality 
attending British councils where America has 
been concerned. 

In causing this war, it must be admitted that 
Mr. Perceval was not alone to blame, though in 
his folly there was more perseverance. The 
angry despatches of Mr. Canning, and the arro- 
gant manner of his envoy (Jackson) irritated the 
proud democracy. The English ministers lost 
their temper, and showed, by the style of lan- 
guage which they adopted, that they were unfit 
to manage her. They began by the quarrels 
between the naval commanders of each nation ; 
and the conduct of their officers formed a con- 
venient excuse for an unwise ministry : where 
courage was alone required, such men were in- 
valuable, but where temper and address was 
wanted, they wholly failed. 

As to the Americans, they deserved credit for 
having kept clear of the disputes in Europe, and 
for having not only effected a revolution, but for 
having formed a government that was durable ; 
whereas the English introduced into the contest 
the vices of their constitution — the feelings of a 


little republic, which are jealousy, and of a court, 
which are tyranny. 

It was not the war of one nation against 
another, but of an old nation against a young 
empire, whose destiny was not to decline, but to 
invigorate, while England retained all the vices of 
her old age and her establishments. In truth, it 
was not so much a war against America as against 
Providence, — opposing the growth and progress 
of an immense portion of the world ; forgetting 
that empire is never stationary, but moves onward 
in its revolving orbit, and pursues its destined 
course from east to west. 

The English were quite wrong in their feel- 
ings regarding America. Not satisfied with their 
West India possessions, they sought for more ; 
they carried on an unnatural war, burning the 
towns, and destroying the houses, and ravaging 
the American coast, — in fact, making war against 
human nature, — attempting to force Providence, 
and giving her precocious existence, at the same 
time forgetting that America was of the greatest 
service to them in bringing their goods direct to 
France and to the continent of Europe, and 
thus enabling them to sell their manufactures ; 
but even of this coasting trade England grew 
jealous. Her ministers indulged in the old lofty 
strain, and talked of coercing and punishing 
America, never recollecting that England had 
failed when she was stronger, and America weaker; 
and now to think that by sending a few troops 
she could conquer her, was the height of folly : 
America was sure of success ; she could retire, 
and march back, latitude after latitude, and pro- 
long the war ad infinitum, and was certain to beat 
England by distance, by time, and by situation. 
It is true, England burned the city of Washington, 
and destroyed houses, and buildings, and monu- 

vol. v. H H 


ments of art and of virtue ; but this was a shame- 
ful, a disgraceful, and a piratical business : every 
blow she gave America reflected upon British 
honour, and every defeat she sustained injured 
her reputation. She was fighting against the 
principles of her own constitution, — engaging in 
a war of passion and of pelf, and entailing on her 
children nothing but a European war in reversion. 

In these proceedings, Mr. Grattan took a most 
decided part against Mr. Perceval. He supported 
Mr. Whitbread in the motions on the subject, 
and Mr. Brougham, in his able and persevering 
efforts to repeal the orders in council ; and on the 
2nd of March, 1812, he was on that question in 
the division of 144 to 216. He opposed Mr. Per- 
ceval's policy throughout ; he foretold the con- 
sequence of his measures, and cautioned the 
Government against the danger of a war with 
that hemisphere. 

In the year 1812, the Duke of Devonshire visited 
his estates in Ireland. Lord Besborough, Mr. 
Lamb, (afterwards Lord Melbourne), Mr. Grattan, 
Mr. George Ponsonby, and several other influential 
men of the popular party assembled in the south of 
Ireland, and a great dinner was given in the 
Black Abbey at Kilkenny ;* and there originated 
the Protestant demonstration in favour of the 
Catholics. A petition emanating from thence, 
was extensively circulated, and received the sig- 
natures of upwards of four thousand Protestants, 
of all classes and conditions, expressive of their 
good-will towards their fellow-countrymen. This 
measure greatly exasperated the Government. 
The Duke of Richmond's party was highly in- 

* Mr. Goold attended the dinner, and ever after during that adminis- 
tration, was a marked man ; in fact he was proscribed in his profession 
and was never promoted ; his opposition to the Union might have been 
forgiven, but his friendship to the Catholics never was — his unjust 
treatment was no secret. 


censed. The Chancellor (Lord Manners), and the 
Attorney -General (Saurin) found in the pro- 
ceeding a pretence to gratify their political pre- 
judices, and satiate their passions and their re- 
sentment.* However, on the whole it aided the 
Catholics, and their question was again brought 
forward by Mr. Grattan. 

On the 20th of April, 1812, Mr. Maurice Fitz- 
gerald, the Knight of Kerry, presented a petition 
to the House of Commons, signed by upwards of 
four thousand Protestants of Ireland, of large pro- 
perty, and great respectability ; and on the 23d 
Mr. Grattan presented the general petition of the 
Catholics, and moved for a committee to consider 
the state of the law imposing on them civil disa- 
bilities. He had hitherto avoided making any 
allusion to the Prince ; . he knew the weakness 
of his character, and hoped he was not irrevo- 
cably lost to the people of Ireland, and that, 
on the expiration of the restrictions, he would 
restore the Whig party ; but having now beheld 
his indifference to his former principles, and his 
disinclination to liberal measures, Mr. Grattan 
thought that when the Catholic question came for- 
ward it was necessary to allude to his conduct, he 
did so in a manner least calculated to offend him; and 
in the expostulations with the Government on their 
determined hostility towards his countrymen, he 
made the following apposite and beautiful allusion, 
not only to the disappointment of Ireland with re- 
gard to the Prince, but also with regard to the Union. 

Should you, however, finally resolve upon such a mea- 
sure, such a penal sentence, recollect how much you will 
be embarrassed by engagements, recollect the barrier is 
removed that formerly stood against the measure I pro- 

* On the 21st April, on Lord Donoughmore's motion of the Catholics, 
Lord Byron spoke in their favour, his speech was pointed and severe 
upon the minister, showing talent and reading but with much singu- 
larity of phrase and manner. — Pari. Debates, vol. xii. p. 650. 

H H 2 



pose. However we may lament the cause, we must ac- 
knowledge the fact, and perceive that the time is now 
come in which the Catholics were to expect a gracious* 
predilection. They were taught to expect that their 
wounds would be healed, and their disabilities were to 
cease ; that a great deliverer was on his way that would 
wipe the tears of the Irish, and cast upon the Royal Family 
a new ray of glory everlasting. They gave themselves up 
to a passion that was more than allegiance, and following 
the leading light that cheered their pairful steps through 
the wilderness, until they came to the borders of the land of 
promise, when, behold! the vision of royal faith vanishes, 
and the curse which blasted their forefathers, is to be 
entailed upon their children. In addition to this immea- 
surable disappointment, you must consider another — you 
may remember the Union.